Drugs on the market have their individual therapeutic windows within which they work. Thus, every drug has its dosage regimen required for a particular patient. There are some drugs that are taken within the shortest possible of time; as soon as one is relieved, drug administration needs to stop.
However, some drugs produce other pleasing effects to the patient through their course of treatment hence such patients continue to take those medicines even when they have fully recovered from their condition leading to abuse of such drug. There are several drugs that are being abused which includes codeine, morphine and the more recent case is the “Tramadol Abuse”. Individuals abuse these drugs when they become addicted to them.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines “Addiction” a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.Addiction is a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of the underlying organ, have serious harmful consequences, and are preventable and treatable, but if left untreated, can last a lifetime.
Health experts are worried about the increasing abuse of the strong pain reliever, tramadol, which has become very popular among the public particularly the youth. ” Tramol “, as it is popularly known has become a real social menace and it cuts across all social strata, with children from both rich and poor background. A mental health expert has called for urgent action to discontinue the abuse of the drug.
According to Dr. Yao Mfodwo, a consultant psychiatrist at the Brain Clinic at Abokobi in Accra has said “he fears the continuous use and abuse of the drug can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms”.
One medical doctor who once worked with pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant responsible for neurosciences and sexual medicine said “it is as bad as a very silent Ebola or a very silent Lassa fever”.
Tramadol is among a group of medicines known as opioid analgesics. It is a restricted medicine, used to treat moderate to severe pain. The drug acts centrally, in the brain by altering its way of interpreting brain functioning. Mrs Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, the Head of the Tobacco and Substance Abuse Department of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority has made it clear that preparations containing tramadol were classified as Prescription Only Medicines (POM) and added that the approved dosage strength for tramadol by FDA was 50mg and 100mg.
Mrs. Boateng hinted that alarming quantities of unregistered tramadol strengths of 120mg, 225mg and 250mg were uncovered as against the strengths approved by FDA.
The use of tramadol is on the rise due to reported excitement of prolonged ejaculation, enhanced sexual drive, deep restful sleep and extra energy for manually intensive work despite reported serious adverse effects such as seizures, hallucination, sweating, constipation, nausea and vomiting, infertility and organ damage leading to death.
Tramadol is usually mixed with all sorts of energy enhancers and alcoholic beverages . The combination of tramadol and acoholic beverages or other drugs can result in fatal side effects. Tramadol and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. These agents slow down brain function and activity which could result in loss of consciousness, respiratory depression, brain damage as well as suicidal tendencies.
Mrs. Boating has said the impact of the consequential effect on society was overburdened healthcare systems, loss of labour force, increase in crime rates, road accidents and child exploitation as well as loss of revenue.
Dr. Mfodwo has said “ the drug is 200 times more potent when it is broken in the body” and advocated for the establishment of rehabilitation centers where people who have issues can seek help.
The Public Relations Officer of FDA has said their outfit was aware the medicine was sold beyond limits and can be purchased at drinking spots and on the streets. He said the FDA is collaborating with other security agencies to combat the menace at all unauthorized points.
Mr Gorden Akurugu, the Upper West Regional Head of the FDA, noted that substance abuse had become a global issue and appealed to chemical sellers and dispensers to help by selling and dispensing drugs such as Tramadol only based on prescriptions.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese Mimi Darko has said her outfit would partner with the Pharmacy Council to boost their surveillance.