The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye on Thursday, said that the agency will continue to clampdown on unlicensed retail facilities that serve as a medium for illicit drug distribution in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launch of 2019 Annual Report of International Narcotics Control Board report and precursors, Mojisola said that the practice where licensed manufacturers and importers sell directly to unlicensed pharmaceutical wholesalers in open markets does not support the current mitigation strategies against the diversion of controlled substances and illicit use of narcotics and psychotropic substances.
Mojisola who was represented by the Director, Narcotics and Controlled Substances
NAFDAC, Dr. Musa Umar disclosed that the agency will continue to build upon the synergy that exists with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, PCN to ensure effective monitoring and tracking of controlled substances in the distribution chain and to enforce compliance with the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).
"We, therefore, remain committed to the Coordinated Wholesale Centres being envisaged for the effective distribution of pharmaceuticals in the country. As part of collaborative efforts to ensure access to Schedule 1 Narcotics in the country, the Minister of Health approved the decentralization of the warehousing of narcotic drugs to the six geopolitical zones.
"Our policy also supports the local manufacture of selected narcotic medicines in order to reduce the cross-border trafficking of controlled medicines to fill supply gaps."
Corroborating his views, the Chairman and Chief Executive of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, retired Col. Muhammad Abdullah, called for effective inter-agency cooperation and collaboration to identify, disrupt and dismantle unlicensed and illicit supply sources.
"The Nigeria Drug Use Survey recently released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC came up with findings that are striking and alarming on the pervasive drug use problem in the country. The report puts the drug use ratio at 14.4 percent among the age group of 15 to 65 years of our population."
Abdullah who was represented by the Coordinator of Lagos Liaison Office, Dr. Wale Ige noted that the figure calls for concerted efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of the menace on the health, socio-economic and security of our nation.
"In order to address this ugly situation, the Agency is strengthening its drug demand reduction strategies to improve its visibility in clearly identified places such as market place, motor parks, schools, and places frequently used or visited by youth out-of-schools. This will enrich and improve our sensitization to all the vulnerable groups of our communities.
On his part, the representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Harsheth Virk who gave a highlight of the report calls on government to establish national epidemiological data systems to monitor changing trends in psychoactive substance use among young people.
"Government should invest in the development of professional expertise in the field of substance use prevention and treatment with a focus on the needs of young people. Improving drug use prevention and treatment services for young people and Universal adherence to the international drug control conventions," She noted.