The National Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Command in the FCT says the Federal Government ban on codeine cough syrup and tramadol has energised it towards ridding the territory of illicit drugs.
The Public Relations’ Officer (PRO) of the command, Mr Peter Adegbe, made this known in an interview on Wednesday in Abuja.
“The ban has given us a stronger aid in measures taken to rid the territory of illicit drug use.
“The moment the ban came up, a lot of illicit drug addicts went into hiding and the price of the drugs went up, but we are doing our work as we have been doing before now to make sure the territory is free of drug users.
“There was no categorical statement before, but now there is a statement made concerning the ban on codeine and the statement has made the work easier for us.
“When we come across anyone indulging in such an act, we can easily arrest, intercept and even prosecute him as we already have a backup,’’ he said.
Adegebe said drug manufacturers are aware of the ban and the smuggling of the items had since stopped at various borders.
He also noted that effectiveness of the ban on codeine would take gradual effect as most pharmaceutical shops and chemists had yet to exhaust their stocks.
“Codeine might still be seen in some pharmacy or chemist shops but manufacturing has since been interdicted and if any of the substance is seen around, it must have been the ones around before the ban.
“Before the total withdrawal from various shops, pharmacies and chemists, it will have to take some time because most shops had them in stock before the ban came up,’’ Adegbe said.
The PRO said that the negative effect of codeine cannot be overemphasised, adding that its abuse kills faster than any deadly disease.
“As a chemist, I know that codeine is generally a painkiller. It is just a little of that painkiller in it that helps to relax the heart and chest pain when one coughs.
“Illegal users are liable to develop addictions for it and it makes their brain malfunctioned. Its affect every activity of the user and the liver can be in danger,’’ he said.
Adegbe, however, urged residents in the territory to join hands in the agency to ensure a responsible society free of social vices.
“Drug abuse ultimately lead to all forms of social vices and must be tackled collectively,” he said.