Nigeria seeks jail time or $5,500 fine for codeine sellers

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FILE
FILE

Nigerian lawmakers have unanimously backed a bill which would see organisations who continue to sell products with codeine or tramadol fined up to 2m naira ($5,500; £4,100) or jailed for two years.

The bill also proposes fining individuals 500,000 naira or two years jail time, according to local media.

It comes as the country cracks down on medicines containing the opiates, as it battles a rising addiction problem.

Betty Apiafi, the Rivers State representative who proposed the amendment to the exisiting Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Act, 2004, said tramadol was the most abused substance in Nigeria.

Leading debate on the bill, Mrs. Apiafi said that more than one thousand people in Nigeria were admitted for treatment for addiction between January and December, 2015.  Apiafi cited stats from the Nigeria Epidemiological Network of Drug Use (NENDU) reporting system to back up her claim.

“28.3 per cent of the patients had an opiate addiction and the opiates were mainly prescription Medicines: Tramadol (71 per cent as 1st most frequently used substance and specified). Codeine (15.1 per cent) and Pentazocine (9.9 per cent), Heroine and Morphine represented only 3.3 per cent of the opiates declared,” she said.

The bill now goes to a health committee

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