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23 May 2018

Reps seek N2million fine, two-year jail term for abuse of tramadol, codeine

The House of Representatives has proposed a fine of N2million and a two-year jail term for organisations that will go against the ban on tramadol and codeine in the country.

Individual offenders will pay a N500,000 fine and two years imprisonment or both on conviction.

The bill is sponsored by Betty Apiafi from Rivers State and seeks to amend the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Act, 2004.

Apiafi said between January and December in 2015, 1,044 patients in the country were admitted for treatment in the 11 treatment centres currently part of the Nigeria Epidemiological Network of Drug Use (NENDU) reporting system.

“And, 28.3 percent of the patients had an opiate addiction and the opiates were mainly prescription Medicines: Tramadol (71 percent as 1st most frequently used substance and specified).

“Codeine (15.1 percent) and Pentazocine (9.9 per cent), Heroine and Morphine represented only 3.3 per cent of the opiates declared,” she said.

Apiafi also said tramadol is the most abused opiate in Nigeria.

“Thousands of young people in Nigeria are addicted to Codeine cough syrup – a medicine that has become a street drug. Three million bottles are drank everyday in Nigeria’s north alone, according to a recent Nigerian government report,” she said.

The bill unanimously passed the second reading and was subsequently referred to the committee on health care services.

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