Officials in Ghana are alarmed at the rate at which people are abusing the use of Tramadol, a pain-killer drug.
Many of those reportedly abusing the drug include young people who take it in excess of approved clinical doses for various activities including prolong sex.
Health officials in Ghana are warning of devastating effects such as heart diseases among others if the trend continues.
Tramadol is a man-made synthetic narcotic pain reliever and it is usually prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. The approved dosage strength for tramadol by Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority is 50mg and 100mg.
But it has emerged that the strength dosage being abused by members of the public is around 120mg, 200mg and 225mg.
Stories of Addicts
27 year old Prince Owusu has been addicted to the opioid pain medication used to treat moderately severe pain.
He was addicted to the pain killer which was meant to keep him awake always, pain-free and able to have prolong sex, but the impact was devastating for him.
“I became sick, everyday vomiting, any time I take tramadol, I vomit. And after sex, after prolong sex, I become weak, I walk around. Even during night that I have to rest, I can’t rest. I have to walk around till day break. Its like something that you take you never sleep. You will be feeling bad. Sleeping in your room, you will be thinking you are carrying the whole house” Prince told Africa Feeds.
He is now recovering from his addiction but similar stories are scattered across many communities in Ghana.
A public health expert, Dr. Dennis Bortey has said that apart from prescriptions given purposely for clinical reasons, those abusing the substance risk devastating effects.
“This is definitely going to affect the person’s lifestyle, work life and everything. I mean if a drug is putting someone in a state of euphoria all the time, at clinical doses it may not give that effect but those high doses, and the person is having state of euphoria, feeling drowsy, dizzy, with all kinds of pleasure, the person can be at work and be giggling and laughing when there is nothing to laugh about,” Bortey said.
Cost of tramadol
One requires about $1 to purchase a significant amount of tramadol in Ghana which could be more than clinical prescribed dosage. With the emerging threats to human health among abusers, some operators of pharmacies in Ghana have told Africa Feeds that they have stopped selling the drug for now.
Doris Afortey said “We used to but we don’t sell anymore, they abuse it that’s why we have stopped selling it.”
Another pharmacy attendant in Accra, Jacob Preprah said “we don’t sell tramadol. It is a toxic substance and it is not approved.”
The food and drugs authority in Ghana is now linking up police to clamp down on all pharmacies still selling the drugs without prescription. Focus is also on what the authority calls porous borders to prevent the influx of the drugs into Ghana.
The head of Substance Abuse at Food and Drugs Authority, Olivia Boateng said “We still have a lot of porous borders that are unmanned. Apart from strengthening and intensifying monitoring, at these unauthorized routes, we have people, our men at some vantage positions that we hear that these things come in, it doesn’t come in detected, they are clandestine activities.”
Ghana’s health ministry has declared the issue a national concern and hoping the current steps taken could help address the issue.