By Nathan Ohiomokhare
First of all lets get one thing straight. If you opened this article because you actually wanted to learn how to mix drugs then you are miss guided. No be insult, I say that with every sense of responsibility. I will now guide you on why you should never attempt to consume drugs as a mixture. And why you must stop if you are already doing so.
Your lesson number one is that DRUGS ARE POISONS. Oya memorise that! Even if that is all you can memorize in the next 24 hours just sit down and memorize it. DRUGS ARE POISONS! DRUGS ARE POISONS!! DRUGS ARE POISONS!!!
A few years ago while Superitending a Pharmacy in Abuja I was waiting on clients one afternoon. I had just told the sales staff that today seems quiet. So since there wasn't much to do I dispatched her to the wholeseler to refill drugs which were out of stock in the Pharmacy. That would be a full days job for her so I decided to man the front counter in her absence.
My mind was wandering on different topics when a middle aged man walking into the Pharmacy. I instantly recognised him as a former Super Eagles player and Atlanta 96 Football Gold Medalist. Being a major football buff myself it took a lot to comport myself and not scream my head off hailing him with his nickname. It was one of the Babayaros. But I will not tell you which one.
After transacting we had a long conversation. Then he was a big fan of Buhari who was then a Presidential Candidate. He guaranteed me Buhari will win the election. I was on the other side of the fence sha! He talked about conversations he had had with his brother. Look at me, I was being privy to internal gist between international football stars. Thats why I love Community Pharmacy practice.
One of the topics we crossed swords on was drugs. He said Nigeria had way too much tolerance for drug misusers and abusers. He categoricaly told me that a country like Singapore will execute you without hesitation once they find control substances in your posession. He said at the Singapore Airport the first thing your see when you disembark from the plane is a bold sign which clearly reads "DRUGS IS DADA!" Meaning "Drugs is Death". The message simply wants you to note that the penalty for bringing drugs into the tiny country is death.
Drugs can be dangerous substances. When consumed they are subjected to processing in the body similar to the way a manufacturing process converts raw materials to finished goods. Many of the final products of the conversion of drugs and herbs by our bodies are very toxic and poisonous. They also circulate within the body and cause a lot of damage before being excreted in our urine, stool, sweat and saliva. This is why you should never consume drugs without appropriate professional guidance and advise.
Drugs pass through 4 stages when consumed :
1) Absorbtion - from the stomach into the blood stream.
2) Distribution from the blood stream to the organs of the body.
3) Metabolism - Mostly occuring in the liver where the drugs are converted to less usefull waste product some of which are toxic and poisonous.
4) Excretion - elimination of the waste from no 3 above via stool and urine. This is why you go to toilet.
Understanding these processes is highly complex and trust me you are not equiped to have the general picture. Only your healthcare professional is trained to do so.
Consuming drugs in mixture and/or outside of recomended doses could result in damning consequency for your body organs. This is why Healthcare professionals are trained to do an extensive assemssment of a disease condition and formulate a strategy to apply drugs if needed. Its not always that drugs are needed to treat illness. Many times non-drug interventions such as councelling, surgery, Physiotherapy etc are used to solve the health related problem.
The scourge of drug misuse and abuse in Nigeria is so old that it is fast becoming ancient. It iriginates from a phenonenon called Self Medication. In fact as health professionals we are getting tired of y'all attitude towards drugs. It is a major motivator for crime and is the etiology of many Kidney and Liver failures.
We classify Self Medication as either Responsible or Iresponsible Self Medication.
Responsible Self Medication primarily refers to the consumption of over-the-counter-medicines which do not require a prescription. This is because such medicines have a wide safety margin (called therapeutuc index) or you would need to have consumed a large quantity of the drug for it to start causing you harm. So they can be requested in a Pharmacy without prescription to alleviate minor symptoms and illnesses such as cough, cold, Malaria, headaches, fever and pains.
Irresponsible Self Medication refers to consumption of prescription only medicines and/or control substances without appropriate prescrption or recomendation by a qualified medical professional. Take note of my use of the word 'qualified'. Because not everyone you call 'Dokita' is actually qualified. You need to verify if he is a Native Dokita, Babalawo, herbalist, spiritualist or quackist ……in fact "ask am weda e go school at all. Tell am to show you him qualification and license".
Precription only medicines involve many of the Antibiotics you abuse every now and then. You like to buy one capsule of Ampiclox to flush your system….yes thats you …you're an abuser. A drug abuser.
I have also seen many people abuse over-the-counter medicines. We have heard paracetamol is used to cook meat comercialy because it softens meat, accelerates the cooking process thereby reducing fuel or firewood consumption and reduces food production lead time.. I know of several instances where a man makes it a point of duty to consume one satchet (12 tablets) of Paracetamol every single day. And he drinks alcohol ontop. I wonder what his liver would look like under a microscope. I have seen ladies who drank 10 tablets of misoprostol……die! die!! die!!!…..the foetus must die….by fire by force. Afterall the man dumped her so his Baby must bear the penalty for her mistreatment. The same lady would come to me and say since she took the 10 tabs of Misoprostol she has not "seen anything", she beleives the tablets may have been fake. So she wants me to give her the original brand. The one made by Pfizer. Before she says "Pfiz………… …." I don pick race. For my mind "my hand no dey."
The one that pains me the most is when you people come to the Pharmacy and say you have Malaria (you have already diagnosed yourself) and instruct the Pharmacist to MIX drugs for you. See ba! Take time oh, you better just take your time. So you carry two left legs enter Pharmacy, diagnose illness for yourself, prescribe for yourself, instruct Pharmacist make him come mix de drugs for you. Bros/Sis, you for cucuma just siddon begin mix de drugs by yourself na. I go give you pot, stove and plate…….and em spoon too. Because me I no be native dokita. I am a Profesisonal. I don't mix drugs. I identify, prevent and resolve Drug Therapy Problems (DTPs). I am a public Health expert. Abi you see me wear red cloth with Juju for my hand and cowries around my neck?. Na white overall with tie you see me wear na! Why you dey cast me like dis! Na wa4you ooooh!
When you interact with a Pharmacist you are interacting with a porblem solver, a solution provider. And if he/she doesnt know the solution he/she surely knows where to find it. So next time you interact with a Pharmacist do your best to maximize your time with him and tap into the wealth of knowledge.
So now that you have learnt How NOT To Mix Drugs, …….Oya make you dey waka for road dey hala "DRUGS ARE POISONS! DRUGS ARE POISONS!! DRUGS ARE POISONS!!!"