People selling Tramadol in Nigeria appear to be smiling to the bank, while some persons are ending up at 'Yaba Left'.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday said it has seized 159 million tablets of Tramadol at the Apapa Port in Lagos. 

The Director, Technical Services of the agency, Femi Oloruntoba, made this known at a public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health in Abuja. 

Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever used to treat or moderate severe pain. 

The public hearing was based on a motion entitled “The Need to Check the Rising Menace of Pharmaceutical Drugs Abuse among Youths in Nigeria”. 

Oloruntoba revealed that 50 tonnes of Tramadol was recently destroyed in Kano alone.

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He said there are laws guiding the use of controlled drugs including Tramadol and Cocaine. He called for improved enforcement of the law. 

“In 2016, about 31 different substances were abused in Nigeria,” he said. 

The director noted that drug regulation was on in the exclusive legislative list and should not be taken to the concurrent, adding that if that was done otherwise, there would be anarchy. 

He lamented that only the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to try drug cases, describing it as “a challenge”.

He said because the cases could not be prosecuted in magistrate court, most of the time the Federal High Court was choked and a lot of cases not moving.

Oloruntoba called on the Federal Government to increase the number of judges in the federal high court to try cases of drug abuse.

In his submission, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Ahmed Yakasai, called for the drafting of a prescription policy to curb drug abuse menace.

“We are trying to see where we have prescription policy. If we have this prescription policy, we will know who is doing what,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Sen. Joshua Lidani, said the use of illicit drugs, trafficking and other pharmaceutical drugs abuse, particularly among women and youth, was worrisome and was increasing by the day.

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