A cross-section of over-the-counter medicine sellers in the Agona West Municipality of the Central Region has blamed parents who send their children to buy Tramadol as the leading cause of its abuse.
“Many children between the ages of seven to nine years are often sent to buy such drugs, therefore, encouraging them to taste. Others come to buy in the name of their parents but for their personal use.
“When we refuse to sell to the kids, they return with their parents to either verbally abuse us or spread falsehood about our activities thereby affecting sales,” the medicine sellers said.
The over-the-counter medicine Sellers expressed these sentiments during separate interviews with the Ghana News Agency during an intensive random check of chemical shops across the District by the Regional Office of the Food and Drug Authority (FDA).
Tramadol is a restricted medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain but has become almost “a street drug” for the treatment of a normal pain like a headache, sometimes with approval from health practitioners.
They also noted similar levels of parent-teen drug sharing particularly among the poor, underprivileged and vulnerable groups in peri-urban and suburban residents.
Mr Francis Kelson, an over-the-counter medicine seller who corroborated the practice described the attitude as a drawback to the national fight to end the menace of Tramadol abuse and its debilitating health repercussions.
He advised parents to always seek proper medical care whenever they felt unusual changes in their bodies instead of resorting to using unprescribed medications from unaccredited sources.
They must do well to keep such hard drugs out of the reach of children and advised against its use.
Another medicine seller who gave her name as Philomena Mensah, said “I have been advising scores of youth especially school children who come here every day requesting for Tramadol on daily basis to desist from taking the drug due its health effects”.
She suggested that more efforts and resources be focused on education with strict law enforcement efforts to drastically reduce its abuse.
However, the FDA inspection team, led by Mr Emmanuel Ofori Osei, a Regulatory Officer, inspected chemical, pharmacies and warehouses of drug sellers in the Municipality.
As part of the exercise, the FDA also reminded them on the need to keep to best practices, seek regular information and operate within the confines of the law to safeguard their operations.
They were urged to keep proper invoicing, records, tidy environment and desist from selling unlicensed and unauthorised drugs, especially to kids.
The FDA assured that it was collaborating with other government agencies, security agencies to plug loopholes and help end the influx of illegal and unlicensed drugs, food and other items under their supervision.
Nevertheless, there were no Tramadol or other illegal or unlicensed drugs found in any of the over 40 drugs outlets inspected in the Municipality.
This was due to increased surveillance, coordinated information sharing and regular engagements with sellers to adhere to rules and regulations governing their business.