Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Olayemi Ogun, says it might be difficult for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to ban alcoholic drinks in sachets.
According to Ogun, the phasing out of alcoholic drinks in sachets may be beyond the control of NAFDAC.
Recall that the NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had revealed a plan to ban sachet alcohol in phases in the next few years.
Adeyeye, while disclosing the plan of the agency, had stated that a World Health Organisation report confirmed that alcohol consumption contributes to three million deaths each year globally.
The NAFDAC DG also disclosed that alcohol consumption was contributing to the increasing incidence of poor health of millions of people.
However, speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, Ogun said that she was not surprised that the agency was yet to ban alcoholic drinks in sachets.
“Alcohol in sachets and pet bottles are still being sold at every nook and cranny of Lagos. It is just too much.
“The way I see the problem, I think it is beyond NAFDAC and even the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
“There must be a cultural revolution and everyone must see this as a problem to be addressed and not just a NAFDAC problem.
“We all need to start talking about the danger in the consumption of alcohol and use of drugs.
“People need to be educated on the fact that these things are killing people,” she said.
The psychiatrist said that during the phase 1 COVID-19 lockdown, there was a surge in substance abuse in the country, adding that the sudden increase in alcohol consumption was further fueled by the misinformation that it could prevent COVID-19.
“Because of the misinformation that alcohol drinks can kill the coronavirus, quite a huge number of people turned to the consumption of alcohol in sachets.
“They believe that once you take one or two sachets of these drinks, it will beat coronavirus.
“Mind you, those women selling drugs and sachet alcohol are low-income earners.
“What is more baffling is that the women selling it sometimes carry small children who are observing them as they do their business.
“The explosion we are seeing now is small. There is going to be more. I see those children embracing the consumption of those drinks when they grow up.
“We are rearing a generation of drug addicts. That is what is happening now,” she warned.
Recall that NAFDAC announced on September 30 that it would officially phase out the production of alcoholic drinks in sachets by the end of 2023 or first week of 2024.
The DG NAFDAC had disclosed that the ban would be in phases.
She had expressed concerns over the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small volume glass and Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate bottles.
Adeyeye explained that alcohol “is also a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties.”
According to the NAFDAC DG, uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume pet or glass bottles were contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria.
She disclosed that stakeholders had already discussed the negative impact of alcohol drinks in sachets on society, particularly on youths.
“NAFDAC and the Federal Ministry of Health met on this issue with the distillers association, a couple of days ago.
“We let them know that they can think of business because there is nothing wrong about that.
“NAFDAC and Federal Ministry of Heath also have to think about the society, we had a series of meetings at the ministry.
“We all agreed that we are going to carry out the ban in phases,” Adeyeye had said.
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