Rising from the Ladipo Mobolaji Abisogun-Afodu 3rd Annual Lecture on misuse and abuse of drugs in Nigeria, organised by Faculty of Pharmacy,University of Lagos (UNILAG); the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, has recently cautioned Nigerian pharmacists to desist from unethical practices in their profession.
The PSN president, who was the keynote speaker at the lecture, implored the pharmacists to support the federal government, healthcare practitioners and other stakeholders in tackling the threat on misuse and abuse of drugs in Nigeria, by performing their roles in the society professionally.
He added that pharmacists are the only professional group that are licensed by the government to manufacture, mix, produce, warehouse, import, export, distribute and dispense poisons and drugs in Nigeria.
Ohuabunwa further expressed his expectation for Pharmacy practice, that he is looking forward to the day when every medicine in form of tablet, syrup or injection taken or given to any patient or consumer can be traceable to a pharmacist (directly or indirectly), noting that, that day will be the day when the incidence of drug misuse and abuse will be brought under check.
Highlight the factors driving drug and substance abuse in the country, which are socio-economic challenges and the presence of open drug markets; he explained that majority of people who use drugs indiscriminately do it to escape from economic and social realities, while open drug markets enhance the circulation of drugs without control.
He also made an appeal to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to sign the Pharmacy Bill into law, saying if this is done, it will aid the control of illegal drug circulation in the country.
Also speaking at the lecture, Prof. Fola Tayo, who was the chairman of the occasion, spoke on the different ways the society patronize and use regulated drugs, saying that “when you ban a drug, all you have done, unknown to you is to make it more popular”. Using the codeine as an example, he added that in some part of the north today, 200mls of codeine sells for as much as N5, 000, whereas the actual price is N120.
Speaking on the reason behind the outrageous price of the drug, Prof. Fola Tayo said that it is because there is a ban on it, and more people want to know why the ban on the medicine, hence there is excessive demand for it, as “The forbidden fruit is the sweetest”, he remarked.
Advising young pharmacists at the lecture, the professor of Pharmacognosy said that there is a need for mass education, and awareness creation, adding that “they should not allow drug misuse to misuse them and also not allow drug abuse to abuse them”.
Dignitaries at the symposium include: Prof. Oluwole Familoni, FAS, chairman and vice – chancellor’s nominee; Oladejo Azeez, registrar, UNILAG; Professor (Mrs) B.A. Aina , dean, Faculty of Pharmacy; Professor (Mrs) Glory O. Ajayi, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy; Prof. Olueole Familoni, chairman, board of trustees; Prof. Cecilia Igwilo, professor of pharmacy UNILAG; Pharm. Ebenezer Adeleke the former chairman, board of fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.