OrderPaperToday – As part of moves to curb the rampant abuse of cough syrup especially by youths in some parts of the country, the Senate has mandated its Committee on Drugs and Narcotics to urgently amend Section 23 of Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) Act to punish abuse of the drug and other prescription drugs.

This followed a motion raised by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos East) and co-sponsored by 21 others at the resumption of Senate plenary in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Senate is seeking to amend Section 23 of the PCN Act which prescribes punishments for members of the council to include abuse of the sale of over the counter drugs.
In the motion, the senate also urged the executive arm of government to restructure and reposition the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to meet the challenges of evasive drug traffickers using Nigerians to traffic drugs.
It further urged the Nigerian Police Force, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), NDLEA, PCN and other regulatory agencies to develop a collaborative approach towards curbing abuse of drugs in Nigeria.
Sen. Ashafa in his lead deabte expressed concern over the involvement of some Nigerians in the usage and smuggling of hard drugs into South East Asian countries and other parts of the world.
According to him, the development is tarnishing the image of the country as Nigerian nationals are being treated with suspicion and subjected to demeaning treatment at airports across the world.
“It is worrisome that the Federal Government has not swung into strategic action to curb the menace of drug couriers and their sponsors both in and outside Nigeria,” adding that “in April 2015, Indonesia executed four Nigerians in spite pleas of leniency by Nigeria, the United Nations and Amnesty International.
“United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that there were 183,000 drug-related deaths worldwide, with drug dependent users rising to about 39 million. Drug use is closely linked to violent crimes and terrorism in many parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive.”
The lawmaker noted that the Malaysian authorities had issued a strong statement that 40 per cent of the foreigners being arrested for drug offences were from Nigeria, noting that most of the culprits disguised as university students in collusion with drug syndicates, predominantly outside Nigeria to undermine the visa system and gain entrance into drug traffic routes.
Some senators in their contributions applauded the motion, noting that the rate of drug abuse in the country was alarming.
They expressed concern that the development was tarnishing the image of the country in spite of efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari to create a good image for the country.
They called for the establishment of rehabilitation centres across the country to rehabilitate those already abusing drugs, rather than concentrating on prevention and punishment.
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