Tramadol Abuse And The Silence Of FDA

Tramadol, sold under the brand name Ultram among others, is an opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.

When taken by mouth in an immediate-release formulation, the onset of pain relief usually occurs within an hour.

It is often combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) as this is known to improve the efficacy of tramadol in relieving pain.

Recent surveys have shown that the drug is being abused by some youth, as well as market women, drivers and in some cases students.

Citi FM, an Accra based radio station, recently did a comprehensive news item, the report highlighted the growing appetite for the drug among a teeming number of youth, who obviously are oblivious of the dangers it poses to their health.

It is imperative to note that, although the report focused on some areas in Accra, the abuse of the drug, which is supposed to be a prescription drug, is nationwide.


This is a cause for concerned for us as a nation, we are of the opinion that urgent steps must be taking by all stakeholders to nip the abuse in the bud, before it becomes a national crisis.

What is needed is a lot of education. The Food and Drugs Authourity (FDA), has intensify its surveillance, as a result of the reported cases.

Surveillance is one way of attacking the problem, but the effective way to handle it, is through education.

Forums, town hall meetings, workshops, in our communities, markets and trotro stations, as the various surveys have found out that, the biggest consumers are mostly found at these places.

Commercials on radio and television, advertisement in the newspapers, must also be organized to create awareness about the dangers of abusing Tramadol.

In the hospitals and Clinics, patients, who are put on the drug, must also be advised or educated not to exceed the required dosage.

This kind of assignment needs careful planning, intelligence gathering and analysis, identification and surveillance of groups and persons and communities of interest.

This is a task that is way bigger than the FDA; it require a hands on approach of all the people in the value chain and it begins with us in the media, as we are the interface between policy makers, implementers and the citizenry.




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