New Straits Times
WARNING ON COUGH MIXTURE ABUSE
Its sale is only for medicinal purposes, says Health D-G
THE Health Ministry will take action against any licensed medical practitioner or pharmacist found selling cough medicine for non-medicinal purposes under the Poisons Act 1952.
Its director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said those caught selling cough medicine illegally could be sentenced to one year’s jail or fined RM3,000, or both, upon conviction.
“The preparation of cough medicine, in any form, containing scheduled poisons is controlled under the Poisons Act 1952.
“Hence, the sale of cough medicine is allowed only for medical purpose by licensed medical practitioners and pharmacists.
“They must comply with the provisions of the law in accordance with the act.”
He was commenting on a Harian Metro special report on Feb 24 on the sale of cough medicines to produce “chakoroi”.
Chakoroi, a mixture of ketum juice, carbonated drinks and cough medicine, is said to be a trend among ketum addicts and is used as a substitute for drugs.
Dr Noor Hisham said following complaints received on Aug 22, the Pharmacy Enforcement Division had conducted inspections on premises suspected of selling cough medicine for non-medical purposes.
“The ministry has seized 100,480 bottles of cough mixtures for investigation as a result of the inspection.”
The sale of cough medicine used to create chakoroi raised concern about addicts, especially among the younger generation, turning to easily accessible substances.
National Anti-Drugs Agency director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Halim Mohd Hussin said chakoroi would produce a similar form of euphoria as other drugs.
He said chakoroi appeared on the scene three years ago and had gained traction as anyone could produce the drug cocktail.
“One needs only ketum juice, cough syrup and carbonated drinks to create chakoroi.
“Since it is easy to produce, there are those who will try to profit from the sale of the mixture without thinking about the consequences.
“I shudder to think if pupils got their hands on chakoroi.
“It will expose them to other drug substances.”
He said this was worrying as there would be a dependency on chakoroi, leading to not only physical health issues, but also mental and psychological problems.
Apart from stricter enforcement by the authorities, Halim said parents’ intervention was just as important in protecting children from becoming addicted to chakoroi.
“Parents should educate their children on drug abuse just as how they teach them not to smoke or participate in social ills.
“You need to know what they are taking and doing, know the symptoms of people who are using ketum, chakoroi or any drug.”
A few universities have initiated research on ketum and Nada is happy to share the findings with the public, especially families, on ways to care and handle the use and consumption of ketum.