ONCB mulls strict controls on addictive analgesic
The office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) is pushing for stricter controls on over-the-counter sales of Tramadol, a |prescription drug that was blamed for the recent death of a teenager.
"The Public Health Ministry and the Food and Drug Administration must strictly control the sale of analgesics that contain addictive substances," ONCB senior adviser Narong Rattananugul said yesterday.
He was speaking in response to reports about the teenager who died after consuming Tramadol mixed with a carbonated drink to get high.
"In fact, Tramadol cannot be sold without a doctor's prescription, but some pharmacies apparently defy this regulation," Narong said.
He explained that the medication could induce effects similar to morphine, but weaker, though when it is mixed with caffeinated soft drinks, the effect becomes stronger.
Dr Anek Yomchinda, chief of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, warned that Tramadol overdose could cause deaths.
"So far, some 17 to 20 Tramadol-related deaths have been reported," Anek said.
While relevant authorities have become more cautious about the sale of Tramadol, they are pursuing the idea of removing kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) from the list of narcotics.
Anek said it had been agreed that the ONCB would be the main agency to study the idea and that it would be discussed with relevant agencies next week.
"We are not saying that kratom is useful in all aspects, but it would be useful if we know how to use it correctly. Foreign countries often use less harmful narcotics to |fight more dangerous drugs," he said.
Meanwhile, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha urged relevant authorities to exercise proper control over the use of kratom if it were to be legalised. He said that kratom leaves could be precursor materials for some harmful narcotic mixtures.