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NDLEA uncovers cartels smuggled lethal drugs

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By Timothy Akintola

Fentanyl viewed as an imminent threat to the public health of the country.

The current health state of Nigerian youths has deteriorated so much as a result of the huge consumption of hard drugs and abuses. Statistics indicate that over 11 percent of Nigeria’s youth population indulge in the intake of hard drugs like syrup, Tramadol, cocaine, amongst others. Also, a survey from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes noted that globally, over 275 million people indulged in drug abuse, with over 36 million people suffering from Drug Abuse disorder (2021). The National Drug Use Survey, as of 2021 also indicated that the rise in drug abuse could also be the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Between 2010 and 2019, the number of hard drug users rose by 22 percent, and owing to the population growth in different demographics, Africa is projected to witness an 11 percent increase in drug users by 2030 and this mean Nigeria will grapple about 20 million drug abuse offenders by 2030, further deteriorating the country’s Public Health system. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have been immensely committed to curbing this menace which have ravaged the social consciousness of most youths in the country.

Fentanyl, an illicit drug 100 times stronger than Tramadol.

Recently, the Drug Enforcement Agency have launched numerous attacks on perpetrators of these hard drug traffickers across the country, with numerous traffickers apprehended. Recently, some drug cartels were noted to have devised plans for the circulation of fentanyl across the country. The NDLEA, led by Muhammad Babu Marwa informed the public of these devised plans. The agency’s Spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, described this drug as an illicit one, 100 times stronger than Tramadol.

He noted that this drug was being devised to circulate around the country by misleading labels, coming in forms of eye drops and candies. He stated that the agency was aware of these desperate efforts indulged in by many of these drug cartels to introduce fentanyl to the Nigerian market which according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a lot more potent than morphine and a hundred percent more effective than heroin.

Hard drug now being mixed with other prescription medications.

He disclosed that this hard drug came in liquid or powder forms. He said that this fentanyl was also mixed with other prescription medications, with the liquid manufactured drugs, coming in nasal sprays, eye drops and small candies. He however admonished parents and stakeholders to be immensely careful and warn their children against experimenting with this illicit drug. Femi Babafemi noted that pinpoint pupils, loss of consciousness, low breathing limp body and pale skin were symptoms of fentanyl overdose.

The NDLEA Spokesman again attributed the rise in the usage of these drugs to over 70 percent overdose of opioid and death recorded in the United States of America as a major contributor of numerous fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the country. He assured that with the present prevalence of drug abuse in Nigeria rising to about 14.4 percent, immense steps would be taken to ensure that this hard drug does not circulate through the country.

NDLEA promises to ensure that perpetrators of this crime face the law.

Fentanyl, being a deadly synthetic substance, more potent than most of the hard drugs in circulation has been viewed as an imminent threat to the health state of the country. He also assured parents and stakeholders that the necessary precautions for monitoring the involved cartels were being implemented, in a bid to protect the public health from any form of threat. He promised that all perpetrators would be made to face the wrath of law.


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