Abuse of Tramadol responsible for high crime rate – FDA

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Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has embarked on a series of public education on what it says is an alarming abuse of Tramadol especially among the youth.

Tramadol is a man-made (synthetic) narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and is usually prescribed to patients suffering moderate to severe pain. According to the FDA, preparations containing tramadol are classified as Prescription Only Medicine (POM). The authority also said it has only approved 50mg and 100mg dosage strength of the medicine. However, other dosages such as 200mg, 225mg and 120mg were now in the system mainly in the hands of drug peddlers.

Speaking to journalists in Bolgatanga after the FDA organised a training workshop for owners of public facilities and law enforcement agencies on Tobacco control measures, Mrs. Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, Head of Tobacco and Substances of Abuse Department at the FDA, revealed that during regular public education in schools, market areas and public transport terminals by the FDA, they observed that instead of the hard drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, people were now using tramadol for recreational purposes “because they have realized that at some doses, it elicits some effects  just like what the hard drugs do. So most people, predominantly the youth are mixing it with alcohol and adding energy enhancers. The reasons they gave, some say it enhances sexual ejaculation; they can stay alert and learn instead of the coffee that we know people are using; the drivers say they can drive long hours, the market woman are saying it makes them do strenuous jobs.”

This practice she said was dangerous because tramadol on its own lowered lower brain activity, respiratory activity, heart function which alcohol was also going to act as a depressant on the users’ brains. She further stated that abusers could end up getting liver and kidney diseases with long term use.

“You should have gone to see a clinician or a doctor who would have assessed your pains and thinks that you need tramadol and they will even give it to you for a number of days. You cannot use it routinely, excessively or regular use; that is where you will get the health hazard of the harmful effects.”  She said.

Mrs. Boateng also said some of the criminals the police arrested in Accra and other parts of the country confessed that they had used Tramadol to embolden themselves before engaging in the nefarious activities.

She warned the public to desist from abusing tramadol and use it for its intended purpose of managing moderate to severe pains be wary of the abuse of tramadol and its irreversible complications.

When it is taken prescribed, tramadol effects will include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, feeling anxious, itching, fainting, loss of coordination, infertility, impotence and sexual problems, organ damage and shallow breathing.

Aside emboldening criminals to attack unsuspecting public; Mrs. Boateng said other effects of the medicine on the society included overburdened health care systems, loss of labour force, loss of revenue to the state as state money was used to cater for drug addicts at the psychiatric hospital.