Today is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and we take the opportunity to highlight the risks of codeine and tramadol which are being taken as cheaper and more accessible forms of narcotic. One way of accessing codeine is through cough preparations and paracetamol preparations containing codeine. These cough and paracetamol preparations can be bought over the counter. Like morphine and other opioid analgesics, codeine and tramadol can give the feeling of euphoria, and also exhibit the side effects of morphine such as tremors, dizziness, sweating, loss of appetite, lack of coordination, hallucination, rapid heartbeat. It can also lead to death.

The United Nation has given the theme for this year as "Listen First" encouraging parents, guardians and mentors to listen to their children, wards or proteges. A strong bond between children and parents is based on listening to them and showing you care.

Community Pharmacists are in position to identify drug abusers. Through observation of the quantities they buy, how often they buy, community pharmacists are able to identify suspected opioid drug abusers and can serve as mentors to their society. Talk to them, be a listening ear.