Hard Drugs Addiction: Psychiatrist urges stringent penalties for manufacturers, sellers

 A Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist, Dr Olajumoke Koyejo, has urged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to evolve stringent penalties for Pharmaceutical Companies still manufacturing and selling Tramadol and other hard drugs in the country.

koyejo,  of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that Tramadol was now being sold almost everywhere in the country.

“In Pharmacies, we still see Tramadol of 450mg and 500mg; we cannot just stay somewhere and ask a child not to use drugs when these drugs are still readily available for use.

“Even around school areas, such substances are being openly sold and anybody can have access to them.

“A school is supposed to be 300 metres radius from such spots, to prevent young people from gaining direct access to these substances.

“So, the NDLEA should take charge and ensure that all those who are making these drugs readily available for people to use are severely punished,’’ she said.

The addiction professional also called on Government to come up with milder policies to help to reform drug addicts.

According to her, criminalising drug addiction is certainly not the best because addiction is a chronic disease.

“The first thing Government needs to do is to put in place polices to help them, and when they are sick, they should be able to access safe treatment and not be put in jail.’’

Koyejo said also that policies ought to be in place to check quackery and ensure only experts can see the patients and improve their prognosis.

“People still believe that addiction treatment is a character flaw, so by the time I lay my hands on you, you are healed.

“No, it’s a disease of the brain that only experts need to tackle.

“Of course sometimes, the quacks look so nice, people would want to patronise them than the experts that know the right thing to do’’.

Besides, she urged professionals to get themselves trained to enable them to always do the right things.

She said: “Being to the labour ward 12 times does not make you a gynaecologist, neither are you a midwife.

“Being in recovery after so many years of active use of psychoactive substance does not make you a treatment expert.

“Someone who is trained will know his limits as a professional, the training will bring to his knowledge the extent of power that he can exert on the patient.

“Training will also bring knowledge of the cause (Aetiology) and course (Pathogenesis) of the disease and how you can go about the treatment,’’ she added.

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