The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has called for inter-agency and international collaboration in the area of awareness creation on the high abuse of Tramadol among the public in order to curb the social menace.
Tramadol abuse has an effect on both the individual and society, it said, hence the need for the collaboration for a vigorous awareness creation to end the effect of the menace on the public especially among children.
Mrs Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, the Head of the Tobacco and Substance Abuse Department of the FDA, made the call while delivering a presentation on the “Abuse of Tramadol and codeine containing cough syrups (CCS) in Ghana” during a stakeholder’s sensitisation training on tobacco and substance abuse in Wa.
She made it clear that preparations containing Tramadol were classified as Prescription Only Medicines (POM), and added that the approved dosage strength for Tramadol by the FDA was 50mg and 100mg.
Mrs Boateng noted that Tramadol and CCS abuse in Ghana became an issue of interest about two years ago, 2016, when intelligence gathered across the country pointed to scattered incidences.
She said intensified nationwide public education at educational institutions, market places, beaches and transport terminals confirmed increased and routine abuse of Tramadol and CCS by the youth, students, market women and commercial drivers.
The Head of the Tobacco and Substance Abuse Department of the FDA hinted that alarming quantities of unregistered Tramadol strengths of 120mg, 225mg and 250mg were uncovered as against the approved 50mg and 100mg by the FDA.
“The Tramadol and CCS is usually mixed with all sorts of energy enhancers, alcoholic beverages and even marijuana”, she noted.
Mrs. Boateng also said the combination of Tramadol and other substances, either alcohol or drugs could cause threatening or even fatal side effect.
“Both alcohol and Tramadol are central nervous system depressants, and both agents slow down brain activity and function which can lead to confusion, loss of consciousness, brain damage, renal dysfunction, respiratory depression and increased depression as well as suicidal tendencies”, she added.
Enhanced sexual drive and prolonged ejaculation, performance enhancers, euphoria, pain reliever, deep restful sleep and extra energy for manually intensive work were listed as some of the reasons for Tramadol and CCS abuse.
She reminded abusers that the effects of Tramadol and Codeine abuse were grave and might lead to agitation, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling; constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, itching, sweating, flushing and fever; loss of coordination; fainting; seizure; infertility and organ damage leading to death.
She 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.
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.