Tramadol use increasing in Northern Region

Tamale, Mr Mumuni Fuseini, Northern Regional Mental Health Coordinator, has raised alarm over the increased use of tramadol by the youth in the region saying it was dangerous to their health.

He did not give any statistics but claimed the situation has become so worse that even children between the ages of 12 to 14 were also using the drug.

Mr Fuseini raised the alarm in Tamale on Tuesday when making a presentation at a three-day training for traditional authorities, market queens and youth chiefs on common mental disorders and human rights issues.

The training was to orient participants drawn from markets and suburbs of Tamale to support mental health activities by supporting in identifying and referring persons with mental illness and epilepsy in their communities and places of work to treatment centres to seek treatment.

It was also to increase the knowledge of participants in mental health such that they would in turn support mental health initiatives by promoting the rights of mental health persons in their communities and areas of work.

It formed part of a project dubbed: Support Mental Health Services in Ghana being implemented by BasicNeeds-Ghana in collaboration with Gub-Katimali Society with funding from the Department for International Development.

A total of 90 persons comprising 30 traditional leaders, 30 market queens, and 30 youth chiefs would benefit from the training.

Tramadol is used for moderate, severe and chronic pain and its abuse is dangerous for one’s health as it affects the brain, making people not to concentrate, hence pupils/students dropping-out of school with some even getting seizures.

Mr Fuseini suggested that tramadol be sold only on prescription or a ban be placed on its importation into the country to prevent the youth from abusing it.

He commended the Pharmacy Council for instituting measures against open marketing and sale of tramadol by drug stores.

He was not happy that despite this measure, some drug retailers continue to sell tramadol to the youth saying such moves were motivated by just profit and urged all to stop the practice.

Mr Mumuni also spoke about the mental health situation in the region saying there is now three to four staff in each district of the region delivering mental health services to patients.

Mr Adam Dokurugu Yahaya, Programmes Manager of BasicNeeds-Ghana, said the participants were selected for the training because they wielded influence in their communities and areas of work where mental health people were found and would work to protect their rights.

Hajia Fati Laminu, a Market Queen at Aboabo Market, who was a participant, said she would use the experience gained to educate others in the market to respect the rights of mental patients.

Source: Ghana News Agency