Anti-substance/drug churches church abuse anti-narcotics narcotic
Parents and churches should partner to address drug abuse among youths.

NAFDAC Tackles Youth Narcotic Drug Abuse

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has disclosed that it has put in place effective mechanisms to track and trace the distribution of narcotic drugs and substandard and falsified medicines as part of its plan to combat the menace of drug and substance abuse in Nigeria.

It said the new device will enable the agency to track and trace narcotic products right from the very source of production, the manufacturing plant, to the end user, the patient through narcotic drug serialization.

A statement signed by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant Sayo Akintola said that the Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, unveiled the strategy at the commissioning of the narcotic drugs serialization pilot project in Lagos last Friday.

Adeyeye noted that narcotics were chosen amongst other classes of drugs to make sure that we do not have drug or substance abuse in Nigeria or to mitigate it, adding that this will be replicated for all other NAFDAC-regulated drug products.

She said the track and trace technology is a veritable tool to be deployed in the event of medication recalls.

“The commissioning event of the project is a crystallization of a series of activities that the agency embarked upon since May 2018, when we attended the very first GS1 Africa healthcare conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This led to the development and formulation of the Traceability Strategy Document, a five-year implementation roadmap for pharmaceutical products that was launched by the then Minister for Health in October 2020’’.

The DG said that the narcotic drugs serialization pilot project symbolizes a significant milestone in the agency’s commitment to delivering quality, productive, and easily verifiable medical products to the Nigerian consumer by adequately securing the drug distribution network.

She explained that the need to commence the track and trace of pharmaceutical products with narcotic medicines is a very strategic one, noting that narcotic drugs occupy a very prime place in healthcare, and due to the very high propensity for abuse and diversion of this group of essential medicines cannot always be overruled.

The DG also disclosed that the pilot project will be on for about one year, during which “we expect to have been familiar with all that will be necessary to enhance the deployment and full implementation of the track and trace project for other drug classes in scalable phases.’’

Adeyeye further stated that manufacturers must first commission the products they are registered to distribute into the NAFDAC Traceability System, and when it gets to the distributors or the wholesalers, they will also scan the products using a 2D Data Matrix barcode scanner to capture the event related to the movement of the product.

The NAFDAC boss said that all this will be captured in the Agency’s Information Traceability System so that if something goes off the track within the supply chain it would be easily traced and tracked and help in no small measure to reduce drug abuse.

Adeyeye said that with this technology, medicines can now be tracked and traced right from the very source of production, the manufacturing plant, to the end user, the patient.

“Through the scanning device on an android phone, the NAFDAC boss said consumers can now verify the authenticity of the drug product they consume and be assured of the quality of medicines,” she said.

The Managing Director of the technical partner, GS1 Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Odunlami, described the occasion as a very significant day in the history of traceability in Nigeria.

For GS1, he said that it has been a journey that started over ten years ago when the company started preaching the importance of traceability.

He, however, commended NAFDAC for identifying the importance of this standard in transforming the way we do things in the country and enabling traceability and a good distribution system for the country.

“NAFDAC has taken the mantle as you can see today where we are now doing serialization of a very important class of medication which is Narcotics,” he said, as he explained the GSI standard and the role it will play in the system.

Odunlami further explained that GS1 provided the standard while Newsoft Nigeria Plc is the solution provider saddled with the responsibility of developing the solution and carrying out the implementation.