The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria on Wednesday raised alarm over increase in the abuse of pharmaceutical drugs especially cough syrups with codeine.
The Vice President of PSN, Dr Daniel Orumwense, raised the alarm during the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists community awareness campaign on drug abuse, in Surulere, Lagos.
The campaign had the theme: “Drug Abuse and Misuse in the Community: A Collective Responsibility for All”.
Orumwense was represented by Bukola Paul-Ozieh, a former Chairman, Lagos State Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria.
The vice president noted that drugs altered the biological functions of the body through their chemical functions.
According to him, such alteration could be beneficial or harmful.
He said: “Pharmaceutical drugs are meant to heal illness, but unfortunately, their abuse is on the increase, and a common drug abused is cough mixture that contains codeine.
“The youth have realised that if they cannot get cocaine easily, they can just go to a pharmacy and get a cough syrup with codeine.
“When it is used frequently without prescription, the person has started abusing the drug, and this will make him to feel `high’ (euphoria).”
Orumwense said that collaborative efforts of all stakeholders were needed to combat drug abuse.
He urged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to intensify efforts to control the use of codeine.
Orumwense listed reasons people abuse drugs to include environmental pressure, curiosity, social media effects and addiction.
He urged regulatory authorities to monitor drugs markets, and called for more public health campaign for the youth.
Orumwense urged pharmacists to observe their oath of office, and called on parents and community leaders to educate children and the youth on the need to avoid drug abuse.