Regulating the misuse of prescription drugs Print E-mail
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Friday, 14 June 2019 00:00

On Monday, June 10, 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) opened a two-day workshop to discuss ways to improve the regulation of controlled drugs. These improvements are expected to come about through the strengthening of legislation, institution of regulations, and implementation of quality assurance systems to promote use, and not abuse or misuse, of these medicines. The workshop saw a number of persons from different agencies who may in some way or the other come into contact with these controlled drugs. They attempted to relay a regional perspective on how to best address the problem of abuse and to give Belize the proper controls while still allowing access for persons with prescriptions.

Samira Gongora, Acting Technical Adviser of Pharmacy Unit, Ministry of Health, says that their focus is on persons who are in palliative care. This type of care focuses on relieving the symptoms and stress of an illness through pain medication and includes narcotics and psychotropic drugs, all of which require prescriptions. “We want to ensure access and it doesn’t get into the illicit trade and we have abuse in our population.”

While there are no statistics available in Belize, Gongora says that the problem exists and is prevalent. Persons often use the medication to quell their pain but even after the pain is managed, those persons continue to take these medication because of the euphoric feeling it gives them. They then become addicted and are often agitated and nervous and would do anything to get access to these drugs.

There already exists a number of measures and legislation in place to prevent the misuse and abuse of controlled drugs. One such legislation is the Misuse of Drug Act that controls the sale and access of these controlled drugs by way of a prescription. There are also legislations in place to control the importation of controlled drugs which needs approval from the Ministry of Health’s Pharmacy Unit. Gongora says that the Ministry is hoping to get technical support from the UNODC “to get legislation off the ground especially with the CDB – the Cannabinoid derivatives that we are seeing now.” This legislation will exist to manage the importation of these drugs.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2019 12:43