Pharmacists have decried the high rate of drug misuse and abuse among Nigerians, warning that every drug can kill if used wrongly.
They added that unrestricted access to both controlled and uncontrolled drugs, coupled with wrong prescriptions have led to the loss of several lives.
The senior medical professionals expressed worries that despite the severe health consequences involved, many Nigerians still abuse drugs forgetting that every medication is a potential poison.
The abuse of antibiotics, for instance, the experts said has assumed a worrisome dimension. According to them, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. The pharmacists, who spoke with newsmen said Nigerians must desist from irrational use of drugs for the country to be free from the hazards of drug misuse and abuse.
They stated that recent revelations have shown the urgent need to change the way drugs are prescribed and used to reduce the rate at which many Nigerians are coming down with life-threatening ailments such as organ failure.
A renowned pharmacist, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said Nigerians must be wary of the drugs they take to avoid putting their lives at risk.
Ohuabunwa who is a former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria said: “Every drug can kill if used wrongly. Drug use can have a wide range of short- and long-term, direct and indirect effects.
“No matter the type of drug, evidence has shown that drug abuse and misuse come with serious consequences when it comes to physical health. Notwithstanding the drug of choice, abuse can lead to lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, and various kinds of cancer, to name a few.”
Urging Nigerians to stop indiscriminate use of drugs or face serious organ damage, Ohuabunwa said: ”Many may not get every prescription drug but every drug must be used on the guidance of a pharmacist. You must interface with a pharmacist before you take any drug. Every drug must come with advice from a pharmacist.”
He said the government must start with control by ensuring that pharmacists are at the centre of issues that have to do with drugs in the country.
”Because drugs are not under the control of pharmacists, everybody now has access to medicine including tramadol. Government must, therefore, enforce the pharmacy law and restore the control of drugs to pharmacists”, he said.