As characteristic of us as a people, we have waited for the muddy pool to become a river, and now our women are running around in desperation with breasts cupped in their palms while our hapless fathers bend over backwards in search of a rather late solution to the national threat the drug called tramadol poses to the health, security and very future of our nation.
Hitherto, we have routinely stood akimbo and watched with an unconcerned glee while our youth waste away their future to the adverse effects of tramadol abuse. The situation has gotten out of hand and reached very dangerous heights before we are waking up from our silly slumber to behave like a fire brigade arriving late to as arson scene.
It has not been a secret that the non-medical use of tramadol has security and health implications linkages and that the abuse of the drug has been linked with the global fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.
Yet we in Ghana did absolutely nothing of significant value to guard against its abuse in our country. We waited and watched until the abuse of tramadol became a national threat. We are now running around as though there is anything we can do to make a dead horse move.
A recent report by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said the threat the non-medical use of tramadol has on West and Central Africa is alarmingly scary.
“The rise of tramadol consumption and trafficking in the region is serious, worrying, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We cannot let the situation get any further out of control”, UNODC Regional Representative in West and Central Africa, Mr. Pierre Lapaque.
The UNODC report disclosed “tramadol is regularly found in the pockets of suspects arrested for terrorism in the Sahel, or who have committed suicidal attacks. This raises the question of who provides the tablets to fighters from Boko Haram and Al Qaeda, including young boys and girls, preparing to commit suicide bombings”.
We knew all this as a country. We were aware that tramadol tablets were commonly found in the possession of criminals yet we have watched and allowed the free sale on the drug in the open market and in every corner, drugs are sold.
We have watched as young teens buy the drug from pharmacy shops although they have no prescription for it.
We have watched the youth get addicted and become daredevils with no fear and feeling for humanity when they use it and embark on robberies, yet we continue to watch the drug sell like hot cakes in the open market.
This is wrong and an indictment on us all. We need a collective and concerted effort to regulate the sale of the drug. We need to consider the situation as the national security threat it is. We need to face reality.