'Treat Tramadol-addicted kids as patients'

Sharp rise in people arrested for Tramadol abuse this year

Heart palpitations, muscle atrophy, breathing difficulties, coma, insomnia, depression, visual hallucinations, convulsions, mood swings, aggression and epilepsy, which ultimately lead to death, are the signs of addiction to the drug ‘Tramadol’, said Dr Shamsa Abdullah Hammad of Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

She called on parents of those addicted to Tramadol not to punish them physically but to consider them as patients who must be sent to rehabilitation centres.

This came in the Rooh Al Qannon (Spirit of the Law) programme presented by lawyer Essa bin Haidar on Noor Dubai Radio on Monday.

Dubai Customs in cooperation with DHA and Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) is conducting an awareness campaign about addiction to Tramadol, which will continue till the end of the year.

Bin Haidar said the number of Emiratis arrested for using Tramadol without prescription in Dubai has  risen to 85 people during the current year compared to 54 for the full year of 2011, an increase of about 54 per cent. In the case of expatriates, the rise was 110 per cent.

A Dubai court is at present considering the case of an Emirati youth who was found in possession of 2,600 pills of Tramadol.

Before 2011, Tramadol was not banned and was taken only a painkiller but Law No.15 of 2011 included Tramaol in the list of banned drugs that should not be sold without prescription.

Dubai Customs recently seized 91 million Tramadol pills.

Dr. Shamsa Hammad said Tramadol affects the nervous system  and abuse of this drug has been spread among children below 12 years.

She called on parents to monitor the behaviour and check the belongings of their children.

She said Tramadol addicts often feel like increasing their doses to get the desired effect. In some cases, paralysis of the nerves and drop in blood pressure may occur which may threaten the drug user’s life.

She said Tramdol should be used only on prescription by a doctor for severe analgesic pain. Using the drug without prescription can lead to addiction.

The Ministry of Health has fixed maximum doses beyond which physicians cannot prescribe Tramadol for their patients. A dose for three days can be prescribed by a general practitioner, for two weeks by specialists and for four weeks by psychiatric and medical consultants.

Ferial Tawakul, executive eirector of community affairs and government partnership at Dubai Customs, said import of Tramadol is not allowed except by hospitals and pharmacies with the consent of the Ministry of Health.

She explained  the ‘risk indicator system’ used by the Customs to clear  shipments. General trading companies have been caught trying to smuggle Tramadol into the country.

Ahmed Al Hammadi, executive director of commercial affairs and marketing at Dubai Media Inc, stressed on the role of DMI in adopting initiatives relevant to the need of society.

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