Olivia Boateng, Head of the Tobacco and Substances Abuse Department of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has advised the public against the use of Tramadol due to the fact that it can trigger suicidal tendencies.
“Abusers may sometimes hallucinate and when they climb high places, they may see it as a normal height and by the time they realise, they would have fallen to their death,” she said.
Mrs Boateng disclosed this while speaking at the opening of a five-day training workshop on Pharmaceutical Crime Investigations and Intelligence in Accra.
It has attracted District Chief Executives (DCEs), Chief Executive Officers, FDA staff, representatives from the security agencies such Interpol, Narcotic Control Board, CEPS, BNI, CID, as well as the Judicial Service.
“People who abuse Tramadol sometimes lose their sense of judgements and if they are driving, for instance, they may cause fatal accidents. Not only does the drug trigger suicide tendencies but also causes headaches, extreme constipation, diarrhoea and drossiness, noisy or low breath. It also reduces pulse rate and brain activities, and causes heart failure, infertility, impotency, irregular menstruations in women, among others.”
She explained that the deadly drug, whether the prescribed ones (50milligrams/mg and 100 mg) or the abused ones mostly the 120 milligrams, 225 milligrams and the 250 milligrams have effects on users.
Mrs Boateng said: “Taking Tramadol with other substances such as energy drink, alcohol and others can be life-threatening, as it can affect the nervous system, among others. Some people take the drug to sleep well, enhance their sexual performance, as well as work and study for long hours.
Delese Mimi Darko, CEO of FDA, said the evil of pharmaceutical crime has become a global phenomenon which poses a major threat to public health, security and economies of countries.
She said the Ghanaian borders are porous and dangerous products are smuggled in and peddled by individuals, some of whom are foreigners.
The CEO stated that FDA had detected the supply of fake drugs, including de-wormers, anti-malarial, antibiotics, codeine-containing cough mixtures and controlled substances such as Tramadol.
Tramadol is a man-made pain killer and those prescribed in Ghana are the 50mg, 100mg (tablets and capsules) and 50mg/ml-2ml in injection.
Vigil Prah-Ashun, Head of the Drug Market Surveillance, in a presentation, said continuous market surveillance, capacity building for investigation and intensification for staff and public education would help to curb address the problem.