The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is calling on the Mental Health Authority and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen mental health facilities across the country to provide psychosocial assistance to persons recovering from drug addiction.
The authority believes that effective and functional mental health facilities will help such persons to recover fully from their addiction.
The FDA has pledged to intensify its surveillance and swoops to eradicate or minimize the abuse and sale of illicit drugs and tramadol.
These remarks were made at a workshop to engage stakeholders in discussions for their input in the fight against the abuse and sale of illicit drugs and Tramadol in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
According to the FDA, its recent swoops in some communities known for the abuse of drugs revealed a decline in abuse.
The authority has attributed the decline to its recent efforts to clamp down on the abuse and sale of illicit drugs and tramadol.
Speaking at the workshop, the Head of Tobacco and Substances Abuse Department of the FDA, Mrs. Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng called on the Mental Health Authority and the Health Ministry to give more attention to persons recovering from drug abuse.
“The problem we are having is the people who say they have gone off it, they need psychosocial support or help. So we are requesting the Mental Health Authority and the Ministry of Health to assist and ensure that there are functional mental health units. So that these people, because they are suffering from withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms that they cannot stop on their own. They need help. We have been able to restrict access to the tramadol, so the streetism is coming to a minimal level, but if we don’t give them professional help, they will go back to this psychoactive substance and we will have to go and do this fire-fighting”, she said.
The engagement was also an avenue for the authority to disclose its plans for the fight against the menace as well as the steps it was taking in educating the public over the numerous effects of the use of tobacco, illicit drugs and tramadol which has gained popularity in the country recently.
Mrs. Agyekumwaa Boateng also indicated that the FDA has revised its public education strategies as it was moving from wording to pictorial health warnings, where their messages and warnings would be carried out in bold pictures.
According to her, all legally registered tobacco products in the country would have pictures of the harmful effects of the use of tobacco on them.
On the prohibition of smoking in public places, Mrs. Boateng said there must be ‘NO SMOKING’ signage erected at facilities to ensure that members of the public are not endangered by smoking.
The Ashanti Regional head of the FDA, Mrs. Nora Narkie Terlabie says the fight against tramadol and other illicit drugs in the region will continue until the best result is achieved.
“I don’t want to claim victory, because is a continuous fight. The moment we start to feel like it has come down, you may then move your attention from there and the time you will notice it is all back with a new vengeance. So it is not a victory we are ready to claim and say that oh yes it has come down. It is coming down, but there is more work to do. We have to continue and ensure that it is at the barest minimum”, she added.