I wish to warmly congratulate all pharmacy technicians for their commitments towards service to humanity, steadfastness and achievements as well as those in training for their industriousness over the years as we remain grateful to the Almighty for bringing us alive to this remarkable day to commemorate the 2023 World Pharmacy Technicians Day (WPTD).

Nigeria is our country and we will continue to contribute our unalloyed quota in enhancing the medical, economic and social welfare of the citizenry by adoption of good models that will yield the desired transformation ever anticipated.

Recall that the National Executive Council members of our noble association, Reformed Forum of Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria (RFPTN) came up with the theme: “IMPACTS OF PHARMACY TECHNICIANS IN FIGHTING AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND MISUSE IN THE SOCIETY” to showcase the contributions of Pharmacy Technicians in meeting up with one of the association’s objectives of ensuring that Nigerian citizenry enjoy the benefits of assured confidence in safe and effective medicines utilization.

Drug misuse and abuse has become a common problem in our society with much greater negative impacts on our youths. This problem has been on the rise in our society most especially in the universities, secondary and primary schools. The leadership and members of the Reformed Forum of Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria (RFPTN) has engaged in a broader approach in response to this problem to supplement government’s efforts. These include education of patients on their medications, setting up of medicines stores with standard drug storage conditions and working in collaboration with the pharmacists in carrying out quality control of medicines in hospitals and other pharmaceutical facilities.

With the efforts put in place by the government to educate youths on drug misuse and abuse and its consequences, RFPTN as an association, in commemoration of this WORLD PHARMACY TECHNICIANS DAY CELEBRATION, decided to conduct health campaigns, education and sensitization of the youths in schools and even the prisons where we are already heavily implicated. We feel that this adequate campaign/training will help them recognize the signs of misuse and assist them with preventive measures.

Drug misuse

Drug misuse is the use of drugs for a purpose not consistent with medical guidelines, consequently having a negative impact on health. The availability of these drugs “by unlicensed vendors”, in some markets has increased and worsened the situation due to ease of accessing them.

I have the experience of scenarios of people with fever who decide to purchase medications from the unlicensed vendors or the untrained persons. Such clients are given Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Indomethacin that all serve the same purpose, and/or some that are not supposed to even be in the market. These as well can result in gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation and death. Another case study are clients who may have malaria and buy Fansidar from the unlicensed/untrained vendors that takes a longer time for the effect to be evident. Many would think the medication is ineffective, they go on to purchase other medications such as Quinine, along the way because of tinnitus, abandons, and finally buys Artefan. This can potentially lead to hyper toxicity due to drug misuse.

This rise in drug misuse has a parallel increasing rate of depressive symptoms, anxiety, negative effects on the organs like intestinal perforation, kidney failure and even death. It has resulted to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems in Nigeria and resultantly serious effects on the economy.

Drug Abuse

On the other hand, drug abuse, is either the use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Just as the case with misuse, abused drugs are also readily and easily available in our society with or without prescription. It is in this category that we encounter quite a number of youths involved.

We have cases of people naturally sick and are prescribed opioids. When they recover, and are discharged from hospital, some still buy when they experience the pain again. This abuse is most often as a result of no ignorance on the side of patients and most often when they patronize unlicensed/untrained personnel who have little or no care for the medical history of the patient for appropriate health education or counselling. The Pharmacy Technicians as supervised by the Pharmacists adequately functions as support in correcting this anomaly.

The use of Tramadol and Morphine is most often associated with the youth, they use them to feel good as these drugs produce intense feelings of pleasure. This initial euphoria is followed by other adverse effects. Other cases are just out of curiosity and social pressure. This is what most of our teens go through.

The increasing evidence of public health crises in our country, Nigeria, that is already faced with high-level unemployment and conflict in some regions of the country is a primordial concern. The recent spike in drug abuse and misuse, has resulted to an increase in violence even in areas that were generally considered safe like the school environments. Most demanded products include cannabis, tramadol and cocaine. Others include traditional makeshift preparations, heroin and some over-the-counter medication such as certain cough preparations that has codeine as part of their constituents. This drug misuse and abuse has destroyed young minds as well as creativity thereby resulting in inefficiency at work, academic failure and juvenile delinquency, consequently reducing the nation’s economy and the future work force etc.

As a matter of urgency, every member of the Reformed Forum of Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria (RFPTN) should rise up to engage more extensively and in a broader approach to respond to the rising drug misuse and abuse in line with the government’s efforts. With supervision from pharmacist, during drug dispensing, Pharmacy Technicians should keep up with educating the clients on how to take their medications properly, just as the pharmacists also oversee prescriptions by the doctors and in case of doubt, error or omission, they consult with the doctor to ensure accuracy before dispensing the drug. Pharmacy Technicians should continue in making sure that no medication is purchased without proper prescription and drugs that causes addiction are sold only on strict orders and when necessary.


When It Comes to Curbing Drug Abuse, Pharmacy Technicians Are Crucial”.

Pharmacy Technicians play a vital role in addressing prescription drug abuse, because they encounter numerous patients taking opioids and other substances of potential abuse every day. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians provide some level of care for patients up to 10 times more frequently than primary care physicians. Although it is physicians who prescribe scheduled medications, pharmacists have a corresponding responsibility to ensure that the controlled drug is prescribed correctly and for a legitimate purpose. Pharmacy Technicians in same vein have helped combat prescription drug abuse for many years, including educating patients about opioids and addiction and counseling them on the use of drugs.

In the community setting, Pharmacy Technicians encounter patients even more frequent. Pharmacy Technicians are usually the first individuals with whom patients interact when entering the pharmacy. They answer questions, have access to patients’ medication histories, and are usually the first to hear complaints. Because of the amount of interaction Pharmacy Technicians have with patients, they are significant assets for pharmacists in assisting with drug abuse prevention measures. Properly trained Pharmacy Technicians work with pharmacists to help prevent patients from falling victim to drug abuse.

Pharmacy Technicians make a more powerful impact on patients before a potential overdose especially those that have received education on topics such as screening patients who have been taking controlled substances and recognizing the signs and symptoms of an individual who is at risk of abuse. Just as pharmacists have been trained in empathy and motivational interviewing, Pharmacy Technicians use these same skills to talk to patients who are on multiple controlled medications. Pharmacy Technicians are trained in other aspects of effective communication, such as avoiding judgmental statements, repressing possible feelings of stigma toward patients, and treating patients with assertiveness and kindness.

Being able to identify a patient’s specific behavioral or physical attitudes leads Pharmacy Technicians to take the right measures to ensure that a prescription is not being abused. This also enables them to better recognize red flags and warning signs for abuse of prescribed medications. Warning signs include patients self-adjusting their medication intake because the prescribed amount was insufficient to alleviate their condition; presenting more than one controlled substance prescription; returning sooner than the refill date; and/or showing signs of aggression when they are not given their medications early. Pharmacy Technicians are able to recognize these signs promptly.

These are the more reasons that Pharmacy Technicians should be the most preferred in medicines sales and dispensing in the community in our present dispensation. In the midst of the daunting challenges, if we do not take best approach, we will continue being saddled in an interminable pestilence associated with drug abuse and misuse. I make this entreaty that the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) should preferentially honor and accept our partnership approach as an association in order to contribute our quota in salvaging this menace in our country. I am also appealing to the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian legislature to facilitate reserving pharmacy practice in Nigeria to be in the hands of ONLY licensed Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians as this will prevent the alarming encroachment by non-pharmacy-oriented personnel.

This is the only way that I feel pharmacy practice will have its ultimate control. We now have a great number of Certified Pharmacy Technicians in Nigeria that are ready to key into the tasks shifting and sharing policy geared towards optimizing the overall health of Nigerians. A grant of these privileges will yield testimonies of genuine liberation from quackery, thereby making Nigeria be at her best pharmaceutically


RFPTN National President







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