Nigerian Pharmacists and Doctors in the U.S. team up to train health workers on combating Opioid Addiction
Concerned by the scourge of Opioid misuse and addiction in Nigeria, the Nigerian Doctors and Pharmacists in the USA are poised to intervene. Working collaboratively through their respective professional bodies, the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) and the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA), the group has set up an Opioid Seminar and Naloxone Training Workshop to be held at Abuja, on Tuesday, 9 April 2019.
As noted by the Programme Coordinator, Dr Anthony Ikeme, the goal of this workshop is to equip the Nigerian healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, principal investigators, study coordinators and biomedical researchers) with the knowledge, skills and tools for combating the challenges of the Opioid addiction epidemic.
The rising misuse of drugs for recreational purposes in Nigeria has been an increasing source of concern for the Nigerian health authorities and healthcare professionals. In buttressing this point, the NAPPSA President, Dr Leo Egbujiobi, cited a recent survey led by the Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Centre for Research and Information on Substance Abuse showed that over the past year alone, nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) reported a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances. This rate is considerably much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults.
The ANPA President, Dr Charmain Emelife, noted that the most common opioid implicated in this crisis is tramadol and codeine-based Syrup. Tramadol and codeine exhibits an effect profile similar to that of other opioid agonists. They bind to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting pain signals. They also activate the reward areas of the brain by releasing the hormone dopamine, creating a feeling of euphoria or a “high when the drug is taken at higher doses. This can lead to hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia and organ failure.
In addition to tramadol and codeine, other potent mixtures of several drugs with high risk of fatal overdoses have been reported. Quartz Africa, an online based economic journal, reports the common use of “gutter water,” a widely consumed cocktail mix of codeine, tramadol, rohypnol, cannabis and water or juice. Some young adults are also turning to crude concoctions as alternatives, including smoking lizard parts and dung as well as sniffing glue, petrol, sewage and urine as inhalants.
These concerns are at the heart of this effort by the doctors and pharmacists. It is hoped that the training and the follow up advocacy by the two organisations will complement other efforts by other professional organisations and other government and multilateral agencies to eradicate the scourge of opioid abuse.
Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas, Inc. (NAPPSA) is an umbrella organization of Nigerian pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, allied scientists and the academia in the Americas. Her mission is to promote healthy living and disease prevention through effective pharmaceutical care and facilitation of efficient healthcare delivery systems and strategies in America, Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
ANPA represents the professional interests of 4,000 plus physicians, dentists and allied health professionals of Nigerian birth, ethnicity or empathy in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean providing a platform for medical and scientific dialogue, on issues of health within North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, pertinent to persons of descent from the Nigerian Diaspora. Her mission is to identify and stimulate interest in all matters affecting the health of Nigerians and provide the forum for debating evolving health issues in search for solutions
If you have any questions about this workshop or the organizations involved in this effort, please don’t hesitate to contact any us directly as follows:
President of NAPPSA, Dr Leo Egbujiobi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
President of ANPA, Dr Charmaine Emelife (email@example.com)
Program Coordinator, Dr Anthony Ikeme (firstname.lastname@example.org)