Addiction: Nigeria bans production, importation of codeine containing syrups

Codeine is one of the drus being abused by young people
File photo of Youth abusing codeine (Photo Credit: The Whistler NG)

The Federal Ministry of Health has banned the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, gave the directive to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in his office on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

The directive ordered NAFDAC to immediately stop further issuance of permits for the importation of codeine.

This implies that codeine related drugs will not be imported or produed in the country any longer.

A feature by the BBC was recently aired showing the traumatic and stimulating effects of codeine on the Nigerian youth and how the substance is being abused across the nation.

According to the statement, the directive became necessary due to the gross abuse of the drug in the country.

In its stead, the minister said, codeine containing cough syrups should be replaced with Dextromethorphan, which is less addictive.

Codeine is a active pharmaceutical ingredient used in preparation of cough syrups. Unfortunately, the drug has been abused and used as stimulants or ecstasy drugs by mostly youth.

The minister also directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and NAFDAC to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups in the country.

The sale of codeine containing cough syrup without prescription across the country was also banned.

According to the statement, the NAFDAC had an emergency meeting with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (PMGMAN) to inform them that there is an embargo on all new applications for registration of codeine- containing cough syrups. Applications for renewal has also been abolished.

“The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has been directed to continue enforcement activities on Pharmacies, Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor’s Shops and outlets throughout the country,” it stated.

The NAFDAC was also directed to fully carry out its functions among others: to regulate and control the manufacturing, distribution and sale of drugs, including inspection at points of entry of drugs, drug products and food for compliance with the new directive.

The minister stated that the ministry shall ensure collaboration among regulatory agencies namely, NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), for effective implementation of extant Acts, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage.

“Furthermore, these agencies shall work together to increase pharmacovigilance around codeine, tramadol and other related substances of abuse,” Mr Adewole stated.

The ministry said the federal government through the health ministry shall partner with National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), football celebrities, members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Performing Musicians of Nigeria and other celebrities to drive national campaign against drug abuse.

“The FMOH shall ensure that drug treatment intervention for victims of substances abuse shall be undertaken across the spectrum of health care delivery system in the country,” Mr Adewole stated.

He stated that civil society organisations shall be strengthened to deliver effective sensitisation, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services.

Finally, Mr Adewole restated the commitment of government to ensure the full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG) by January 1, 2019.


PT Mag Campaign AD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.