The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says it has arrested one Mr. Pius Ochigbo for sale and distribution of fake tramadol and different brands of cough syrup with codeine.
Besides the arrest, the agency said it has intercepted a trailer and two trucks laden with tramadol at the Dan Lami’s Trailer park, Marine Beach, Apapa,Lagos, following a tip-off by a whistle blower.
Tramadol is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. However, the agency is worried at the increasing rate of abuse of these drugs among Nigerian youths.
The Director General of NAFDAC , Prof. Moji Adeyeye, disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday while briefing journalists on recent activities of the agency, especially the seizures of expired,substandard and falsified medicines, and unwholesome food.
At the press briefing tagged: “NAFDAC and Your Health”, the NAFDAC boss, said Ochigbo was arrested after the agency received a complaint of a notorious patent medicine store in Abule Oja, Yaba that stocks prescription drugs.
She explained: “Enforcement officers gathered that the suspect had been arrested severally by the police in connection with sale of dangerous drugs.
After due surveillance, the team of Enforcement officers arrested Ochigbo (the suspect) on the 18th January, 2018. Some quantities of Rohypnol, different brands of Tramadol (225mg, 200mg and 120mg) with several brands of cough syrup with codeine were discovered in his shop. The drugs were carefully hidden on different sides of his shop which doubles as a grocery store.”
According to Adeyeye,on interrogation, Ochigbo claimed to have purchased the drugs from a registered pharmaceutical company.
“He also admitted to selling the controlled drugs to university students, area boys and members of the public”,she added.
The NAFDAC boss also said that the agency carried out an investigative raid of a ramshackle shop in a busy market in Dopemu, Agege, a popular suburb of Lagos, where several empty individual outer labels of the various cough syrups with codeine were discovered in some of the unused rooms attached to the medicine shop.
Adeyeye noted that many of these drugs were drugs of abuse or narcotics such as codeine and tramadol.
“The user and abuser of the drugs get addicted or dependent on the drugs upon repeated use. The addiction could lead to crime such as sexual abuse, robbery, murder and terrorism. Most of the people that use the drugs are young people below 40 years old”, she said.
Adeyeye further stated that the agency had noticed with dismay the upsurge in street and bus hawking of drugs in Lagos and its environs.
She however, affirmed that enforcement officers of the agency have commenced intensive raids on this menace and have arrested some hawkers and confiscated their wares,stressing that the exercise will be intensified until the agency completely dislodges them.
Adeyeye also revealed that the agency arrested one Dr.Olayemi Lateef of Kolaq Herbs Limited for illegal advertisement of Libigal Herbal Capsule and Univasur herbal capsule, adding that the agency’s investigation discovered that the listing approval of the product expired in October 2006.
To further curb the menace of drug abuse among youths, Adeyeye said NAFDAC would be recruiting young pharmacists to visit secondary schools across the country to warn them of the repercussion of drug abuse including the misuse of prescription medicine like codeine.