The house of representatives has proposed a fine of N2 million and a two-year jail term for organisations that will go against the ban on Tramadol and Codeine in the country.
Individual offenders, according to the proposal, will be liable to N500,000 fine and two years imprisonment or both on conviction.
A bill on it also stipulates that in the case of a corporate body, all the directors, managers, partners and trustees would be guilty of an offence and would be punished as if they had committed the offence themselves.
The bill, sponsored by Betty Apiafi from Rivers state seeks to amend the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Act, 2004.
The bill also seeks to review the penalties and confer jurisdiction on high court of the state to try offences under the act.
Leading debate on the bill, Apiafi said between January and December, 2015, 1,044 patients in the country were admitted for treatment in the 11 treatment centres currently part of the Nigeria Epidemiological Network of Drug Use (NENDU) reporting system.
“And, 28.3 percent of the patients had an opiate addiction and the opiates were mainly prescription Medicines: Tramadol (71 percent as 1st most frequently used substance and specified),” she said.
“Codeine (15.1 percent) and Pentazocine (9.9 per cent), Heroine and Morphine represented only 3.3 per cent of the opiates declared.”
She also said Tramadol is the most abused opiate in Nigeria.
“Thousands of young people in Nigeria are addicted to Codeine cough syrup – a medicine that has become a street drug. Three million bottles are drank everyday in Nigeria’s north alone, according to a recent Nigerian government report.”
The bill unanimously passed the second reading and was subsequently referred to the committee on health care services.