By Yekini Jimoh
Over 50 illegal medicines stores have been shut down by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Kogi State.
The Kogi State Chairman of PSN, Dr Lawal Muhammed, disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at the 2022 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Dr Muhammed described as very worrisome the high circulation of hard and sub-standard drugs in Kogi State by quack medicine store owners, stressing that if not quickly checked, it will pose a great danger to the already fragile security state of the country.
He said recent findings by the association revealed that school drop out, individuals who lost their jobs in different fields had ventured into drug businesses in Kogi State, just as they now see the sale of drugs as a way of making quick money.
He said the association is still in the process of clamping down on more illegal medical stores and premises, adding that anyone caught will face the full wrath of the law.
“Drugs are being made available, easily, especially the controlled drugs. These days, everybody goes into drugs irrespective of who they are. It is amazing to hear that recently, a woman had issues with her matrimonial home, got separated, and later became a single mother. The next thing we saw was that she now has a medical store without any qualifications to back it.
“They now see the drug business as a means to survive. Somebody has lost his job, the next thing is to go into the drug business. Somebody is not doing well in the business he or she is doing, the next thing is to go into drugs. Drugs are not commodities you trade on. Drugs are there to render health care service and must be handled by professionals who have indebt knowledge about it.”
The pharmacist also lamented that patent medical dealers had failed to stock drugs in line with the acceptable guidelines in the country.
Muhammed said ” They have their guidelines. There are categories of drugs they are supposed to store, but because of the quest of making money, you will see them storing all manners of drugs. When the regulatory agency begins to clamp down on them, they will start coming out with the sentiment that we are witch-hunting them.
“Let me quickly make an illustration. If a village hunter is allowed to carry AK 47 you will agree with me that he won’t know how to use this rifle properly. The chances are high of him abusing the rifle. That is why you see that there are personnel that are allowed in handling high calibre rifles like the military.
“The same scenarios is what is applicable to drugs. It is not every individual that is licensed to handle all kinds of drugs. We have drugs for Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary health care services. These categories of drugs are not meant to be handled by a School certificate holder, or somebody who just lost his job or a roadside seller. They are supposed to be handled by professionals because we have safety issues around these drugs”.
He specifically fingered importers and drug manufacturers for this growing trend of drug abuse, adding that, the target given to their company representatives have strengthened the menace of drug abuse in the country.