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The House of Representatives on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on drug abuse and allocate resources to the identification of drug abuse response and treatment, with a view to avert national catastrophe of unimaginable dimension in the country.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Adamu Gamawa, who called for the House intervention.

In his lead debate, Hon. Gamawa observed that “lack of a prescription policy on drug and indiscriminate drug sales by druggists, pharmacists, patent medicine dealers and street vendors, staffed by unqualified personnel which ultimately leads to antibiotic resistance and drug abuse.

“The House also notes that according to the National Bureau of Statistics Nigeria, there is a frightening surge in the issue of drug abuse and misuse in Nigeria with drug use prevalence statistics at 14.4% of productive age in Nigeria (15-65 years of age), which almost three times the global Drug use Prevalence (5.5% ).

“The House is concerned that a large percentage of drug abuse in Nigeria are prescription drugs obtained without proper prescription.

“The House is also worried that most of the drugs sold by illiterate and semi-illiterate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines.

“The House is also aware that various empirical studies showed that drug abuse is a significant facilitator of extremism terrorism, violent crimes, and high school dropout, negatively affecting community health, security, and stability, according to consumer studies.

“The House is cognizant that if urgent actions are not taken to declare a state of emergency and allocate resources to the identification of drug abuse response and treatment, a national catastrophe of unimaginable dimension is in the offing,” he warned.

In the bid to tackle the menace, the lawmakers urged the Federal Ministry of Health to develop a prescription policy that must be enforced.

The House also tasked the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) as a matter of urgency to close all illegal outlets of pharmaceutical products including open drug markets and ensure that only prescribed drugs are administered to patients by qualified health practitioners and sanction erring pharmaceutical outlets.

The lawmakers further urged authorities of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to collaborate with the Standards Organization (SON), Ministry of Information and National Orientation to continuously sensitize public awareness about drug abuse.

To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Narcotics Drugs. Healthcare Services, NAFDAC and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

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By oyonews

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