Stamp out easy ac­cess to drugs

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Comment -

WHEN we think about drug tak­ing, we usu­ally con­jure up the im­age of a sleazy back­alley dealer and a furtive drug ad­dict do­ing a deal, with both on the look­out for po­lice.

But this kind of drug deal is only one side of the story. There are grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple who are abus­ing medicines that they can buy from their lo­cal phar­macy.

We re­cently ran a story that in­volved young peo­ple ad­dicted to a cough syrup con­tain­ing codeine, an opi­ate that gives some­one who over­doses on it a high.

It is highly ad­dic­tive and, ac­cord­ing to a med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner, could lead to the user go­ing into a coma or even dy­ing. Codeine is sim­i­lar to mor­phine and other opi­oids.

If one is to buy this cough syrup at a phar­macy, the staff should record per­sonal de­tails and also log into the com­puter the re­cip­i­ent’s name and ad­dress be­fore get­ting the cough medicine.

This is de­signed to stop peo­ple over­dos­ing on danger­ous drugs and would work quite well – but there are many un­scrupu­lous chemists who are pre­pared to flout these rules and sell their cus­tomers any­thing they want and in any quan­tity they want.

It is im­per­a­tive that our po­lice ser­vice in­ves­ti­gates these types of out­lets and en­sures they clean up their pro­ce­dures when sell­ing medicines.

Drugs will al­ways be around and we can­not just rely on ef­forts to cur­tail their avail­abil­ity.

We have to fo­cus fully on ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple from a young age of the dan­ger that all types of drug abuse poses to health, both phys­i­cal and men­tal.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

DES­PER­ATE TIMES: Ro­hingya refugees stretch out their hands to re­ceive aid dis­trib­uted by lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions at the Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Bangladesh.

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