Nigeria recalls 2.4 million bottles of cough syrup containing codeine to fight abuse

Nigeria recalls 2.4 million bottles of cough syrup containing codeine to fight abuse

More than two million bottles of cough syrup containing codeine are being recalled to stop widespread abuse of the drug, the Nigerian health ministry has said. The recall is based on recommendations from a recent committee report from anti-drug abuse agencies in the country, Christiana Adeyeye, Director- General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control said.

"We asked all pharmaceutical companies producing codeine-cough syrups to recall the drugs. It was a painstaking process that took six weeks but it is part of the steps we are taking to tackle codeine abuse in the country," Adeyeye said. Codeine, an opioid pain reliever, is the second most commonly abused prescription drug in Nigeria, a 2016 report Nigerian Epidemiological Network on Drug Use found.

Analysis of opioid users in 12 treatment centres in the country showed that 69% had used tramadol, 21% had used codeine and heroin accounted for only 2% of admissions, the survey found. The drug came under scrutiny last year after Nigeria's Senate claimed around three million bottles of codeine-based cough syrup were consumed daily in two states in the north of the country.

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