The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has informed of how it uncovered plans by some drug cartels to introduce fentanyl into the Nigerian market.
The NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, who made this known on Tuesday, described the illicit drug as 100 times stronger than tramadol.
He said the drug, with misleading labels, can come in form of candies and eye drops.
He said, “We are not unaware of desperate efforts by some drug cartels to introduce to the Nigerian market, fentanyl, which according to the CDC, is 80 times as potent as morphine and 100 times more potent than heroin,” he said in a statement.
“This, they plan to do either in liquid or powder form and/or with misleading labels to target our youth population.
“This they may also mix with other prescription drugs. The illegally manufactured fentanyl in its liquid form can come in nasal sprays, eye drops, or small candies.
“As a result, parents and other stakeholders are advised to be vigilant, alert and warn their young ones against attempting to experiment with this illicit substance.
“Symptoms for fentanyl exposure and/or overdose include pinpoint pupils, falling asleep or losing consciousness, slow and shallow breathing, choking or gurgling sounds, limp body, and pale, blue, or cold skin.”
The NDLEA spokesman further attributed the drug to more than 70% of opioid overdose deaths in the United States, and a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses.
Babafemi said, with a current drug abuse prevalence of 14.4%, steps would be taken to ensure that the lethal drug does not circulate in Nigeria.
He assured Nigerians that necessary measures had been deployed to monitor the cartels involved in this latest threat to public health with a view to frustrating their criminal plot.
Babafemi added that those found wanting would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid anesthesia that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.