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Occupy Ghana Schools Gov’t on Curbing Tramadol Abuse

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Tramadol, which had once been seen and touted as an ordinary pain reliever has become popular because of its increasing detriment on persons who have been shackled by the abuse of the drug.

It is for this reason that outspoken pressure group, Occupy Ghana has called on government to take immediate steps to curb the abuse of Tramadol.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the social pressure group recommend to government a three-pronged approach that would assist government deal with the menace in areas of medical, law enforcement and prevention and rehabilitation.

In the interim, the group expects the Ministry of Health to appoint a group to research the extent of the problem adding that the group would in turn train doctors to recognise the signs of Tramadol addiction and take steps to treat these patients.

In the area of rehabilitation, Occupy Ghana suggested that, “consideration could be given to setting up addiction treatment centres.”

The statement continued: “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.”

According to the pressure group, programmes to educate the general public about the drug and its addictive potential should be intensified.

These educational programmes should involve pharmacists, doctors, teachers, and pastors while programmes of rehabilitation be considered.

It was revealed in the statement that, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent intergovernmental control organ for the implementation of the United Nations drug conventions, has not seen it fit to regulate Tramadol because it is considered a cheap opioid, used for managing pain and regulating it would make it difficult for doctors in poor countries to obtain it for legitimate use.

But Occupy Ghana says government should petition the INCB to add Tramadol to the list of opioids it controls.

According to them, the cost of obtaining it for cancer and post-surgical patients will be a much lesser evil than the scourge of rampant Tramadol addiction.

The doses of Tramadol approved by the FDA for use in Ghana are 50mg and 100mg. The strengths illegally sold on the streets, popularly called TRAMOOR among the youth, tend to be much higher (200mg, 225mg, 250mg).

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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