Drug abuse and illicit trafficking are no doubt one of the major public health-related issues that are constantly present in our society. According to the research drug use is directly or indirectly responsible for 11.8 million deaths each year. With so many forms of drug abuse and substances of abuse, this article focus on prescription drug abuse and addictions and the role of pharmacovigilance in curtailing the problem.
Over the years, prescription drug abuse has become an accelerating problem, partly due to their increasing availability, and partly associated with prescription patterns and decrease patient compliance, with most commonly abuse drugs involving opioid painkillers, sedatives hypnotics, stimulants, and antianxiety medications.
Many people start taking these drugs to manage a specific medical condition, but due to the nature of those medications of causing drug dependence and addiction, over time, increased doses are needed to achieve the same level of relief and decrease in disease progressions.
Pharmacovigilance as sciences of drug monitoring and detection of adverse drug reactions play a vital role in preventing the harm associated with the use of the prescription drug of abuse through providing timely information about the safety of the healthcare products to the patients, healthcare professional, and the general public. It is noted that prescription drugs of abuse are potentially associated with drastic adverse drug reactions as a result of lack of compliance with the prescription orders, such effects can be minimized if adequate reporting and monitoring are in place.
However, it is not gainsaying that poor regulation of drugs supply chain, unethical practices by some professionals, lack of patient compliance, and increase open drug markets due to lack of implementation of government policies are the chief culprits and the co-contributing factors to drug abuse, therefore all hand must be on deck to be able to reduce the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking, through proper implementation of drug regulatory policies on the safe use of medications and increase public awareness on the danger of drug abuse to the general populations.
Abubakar Mukhtar B. Pharm, MSc. (in view)