Chairperson of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State branch, Pharm. (Mrs) Bolanle Adeniran, has stated that until the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Bill is ratified and signed into an Act of Parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari, its potential benefits of ensuring better regulation, monitoring of all pharmaceutical premises and personnel, wider coverage of pharmaceutical services by trained personnel, as well as proper stratification of drug flow in Nigeria, may remain elusive.
Adeniran made this remark at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pharmacy Week of PSN-Lagos, held at the M2 Arena Events Centre, Ogudu, Lagos.
She explained that the approval of the PCN bill will go a long way in clarifying the ambiguity in the powers of pharmaceutical inspectors and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), as a regulatory agency.
According to her, “This development will be given a further boost by the recent approval of full enforcement department for the PCN by the office of the head of service of the federation.’”
The PSN chairman also called the attention of the federal government to the need to create rehabilitation centres as a way of further tackling the menace of drug abuse in the country.
Decrying the spate of drug addiction in the country, Adeniran said addicts hardly recover fully from their condition, as the slightest view of white powder could trigger the instinct.
Her words: “Once you identify people that are addicted to drugs and are ready to come out of it, then they have to be taken to a rehabilitation centre, because they cannot come out of it all by themselves. If anybody tells you I was once an addict and came out of it on my own, it is a lie. he has to be rehabilitated and he will be helped.
“So, we are asking that the government should create rehabilitation centres all over the country in the six geo-political zones so that there will be a place where we can take these people to, where they can have respite. There are so many of them on the streets and there is nobody taking care of them”, she stated.
Speaking on the theme of the conference: “Drug Abuse and Misuse: Threat to National Development”, the keynote speaker, Professor Oluwatoyin Odeku , dean, Faculty of Pharmacy , University of Ibadan, stressed the need for a national strategy that would involve government agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, medical organisations, community groups, and other relevant stakeholders in the country.
The UI dean, who highlighted the various problems associated with drug abuse and misuse, asserted that if no urgent steps are taken to stem the tide, the Sustainable Development Goals of – No poverty; Zero hunger; Good health; Quality education; Clean Water and Sanitation; Employment; Peace and justice; and Strong institution, might not be achievable in the country.
She listed the health challenges caused by drug abuse and misuse to include: Weakened immune system, collapsed veins, infections of blood vessels and heart valves, organ failure, nausea, vomiting, seizures, widespread brain damage, increased sexually transmitted diseases, emotional crises, and so on.
The don proffered that, to win the war against drug abuse and misuse, all stakeholders must be actively involved, as it is only a united healthcare team that can bring down the hydra-headed monster.
She said: “Pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners must watch out for prescription falsification or alteration, track opiod, embrace moral and ethical practices, embark on massive advocacy and public enlightenment, pruning of import licence for controlled substances, and implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) must be considered a priority”.
Chairman of the opening ceremony (morning session), Brig. Gen. P.D. Yusuf, also called for effective measures to be adopted to combat the menace of drug abuse and misuse, stressing that there is a high prevalence of alcohol and other substances abuse in the country, particularly in the north, adding that this has led to as many as 15.8 million people suffering from drug disorders.
On his own part, the PSN President, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai appreciated organisers of the programme for their laudable initiatives towards the progress of the profession, assuring them of the continuous support of PSN national.
The immediate past PSN President, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, equally seized the occasion to invite all members of PSN to the forthcoming national conference of the Society, holding in Ibadan, Oyo State, where elections into the new national executive positions will be conducted.
Akintayo, urged the pharmacists to vote wisely for candidates who can pilot the affairs of the profession effectively to the desired heights.