The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, says the abuse of the opioid, Tramadol, has become a national threat that must be urgently tackled.
He said there is the need for concerted efforts from the public and stakeholders in the health sector to address the problem before it depletes the country’s human resources.
Speaking at an Inter-Agency Forum on Strategies for Countering Counterfeit Drugs and Substance in Accra on Monday, the minister said, “the recent issues on the abuse of drugs including tramadol and codeine has become a national threat. Which requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says they have tightened security at the various entry points into the country to prevent illegal importation of Tramadol and other opioids.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drug Authority (FDA), Delese Mimi Darko who also spoke at the event said, the “Food and drugs authority in curbing this global threat has undertaken a lot of regulatory activities which includes national public education… In collaboration with the Pharmacy Council and other law enforcement agencies, raids have been organised nationwide to address this situation and be able to arrest the peddlers of these unregistered products; the border has also been strengthened to prevent the influx of these products,” she said.”
There is a growing trend of Tramadol abuse among Ghanaian youth in some parts of the country.
Recent surveys have shown the drug is also used among market women, drivers, and in some cases, students.
The abuse of Tramadol, a pain relief drug, according to medical experts, functions like heroin and can cause psychotic problems as well as damage vital organs in the human body.
The Mental Health Authority (MHA) in a statement copied to citinewsroom.com on Monday called for the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) to be allowed to regulate the importation of tramadol into Ghana.
According to the Authority, the Narcotic Drugs Law must be amended by Parliament to allow NACOB to play a supervisory role of the drug.
“Tramadol is a prescription drug and therefore licit, but the dosages we are seeing and hearing of must make tramadol necessarily come under the regulation of NACOB regarding what can be allowed in the system.”