The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday restricted the distribution of flunitrazepam to outlets.
It said the drug could only be dispensed on the prescription of doctors. The Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, announced the decision while briefing newsmen in Abuja and explained that it became necessary to limit the distribution of the drug following its abuse.
Orhii recalled a 2012 incident involving Mrs Cynthia Osukogu, who died as a result of alleged abuse of Rohypnol.
``Flunitrazepam is registered in Nigeria by Roche Nigeria Ltd as a 1mg tablet with brand name, Rohypnol, the other brand registered is swinol by Swiss Pharma Nig. Ltd.
`` Flunitrazepam is a benzodiazepine, which is one of the most frequently prescribed classes of medicine in the world; it is indicated in the short term treatment of sleep disorder.
``In anaesthesiology, the ampoules are indicated for sleep induction, although injection form is not registered in Nigeria. He listed the reactions to include paradoxical reactions and anterograde amnesia and explained that ``a condition in which events occur while under the influence of the drug is forgotten.’’
Orhii said a public enlightenment campaign on the dangers of abuse of flunitrazepam would be intensified. He further said that stringent enforcement by relevant government agencies would be ensured.
The director-general appealed to the public, particularly young ladies, to be wary of associating with criminally minded individuals, who might use the drug to take undue advantage of them.