BY PHILIP ANTOH
A PRESSURE group, OccupyGhana, has called on the government of Ghana to take immediate steps to curb the abuse of Tramadol in the country.
The pressure group is therefore calling on the Ministry of Health to appoint a group to research the extent of the problem.
OccupyGhana said “the group will train doctors to recognise signs of Tramadol addiction and take steps to treat these patients. Consideration could be given to setting up addiction treatment centres.”
Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. Fatal side effects can occur if it is used with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow breathing.
There has been an increase in the purchase and abuse of Tramadol, which could lead to adverse consequences, hence a campaign by health groups, individuals and other civil society organisations for the government to intervene.
In the Ashanti Region, 21 drug sellers have been referred to the Pharmacy Council for the necessary action to be taken against them for stocking and selling high doses of Tramadol.
This was after the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had undertaken market surveillance at 84 shops, comprising 50 over-the-counter chemical shops and 34 pharmacy shops within the region, Mrs Nora Narkie Terlabi, the Ashanti Regional head of the FDA, told the media.
OccupyGhana said the government must “urgently take steps to tackle the illegal trade in Tramadol. We recommend a three-pronged approach – medical, law enforcement; and prevention and rehabilitation.
“We ask the law enforcement agencies to investigate how these drugs are coming in and to take steps to stop the large shipments from India and China. The Narcotics Control Board, FDA and Pharmacy Council should ensure that licensed chemical sellers do not sell Tramadol or that it is not sold over the counter.
“Tramadol should only be obtainable with a prescription from a licensed medical provider.
“We ask for programmes to educate the general public about the drug and its addictive potential. This should involve pharmacists, doctors, teachers, and pastors. Consideration should be given to programmes of rehabilitation,” the statement explained.