Pharmaceutical crime which includes the illicit sale of tramadol is becoming bigger than the trade in illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has said.
Mrs Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, Head of Tobacco and Substances of Abuse Department with the FDA noted that the stricter sanctions in dealing with cocaine and heroin has become a disincentive for drug dealers to deal in such trade and are therefore shifting their energies in the sale of tramadol.
Her comment comes in the wake of the recent tramadol abuse especially by the youth in the country.
Speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 18 April 2018, she said the FDA has partnered with officials of customs and EOCO to get intelligence on where the drugs come from and to know those behind it.
She disclosed that during the FDA’s product quality monitoring, they discovered the youth among others use it as sexual enhancers and as energy boosters.
Mrs Boateng told show host Moro Awudu that: “When we went round, some [abusers] said they use it as sexual enhancers, the students say it keeps them alert so they can learn long hours. They have replaced it with coffee like what we use to do in our days and those who say they do strenuous work, manual jobs, truck pushers and things say they don’t feel tired when they are on the large doses.
“When we went to the public transport terminals, some drivers had some on them and said that they could drive long journeys when they are on tramadol. It is for all the perceived effects that they get that’s why they are abusing it.”
She disclosed that during swoops, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 from Niger are mostly arrested for peddling tramadol but the FDA hopes to trace the source of the drug into the country in collaboration with the police, custom officers and EOCO.
Mrs Boateng noted that tramadol is safe to be used in medicine but they have a tendency of being abused that is why they are considered as “restrictive and controlled”.
She therefore advised the youth to stay clear from it unless it is prescribed as it can cause psychotic problems as well as damage vital organs in the body.