Families Of Overdose Victims Demand Action From Social Media Platforms

A young person holds a sign as people opposed to the sale of illegal drugs on Snapchat participate in a rally outside the company’s headquarters to call for tighter restrictions on the popular social media app following fatal overdoses of the powerful opioid fentanyl in Santa Monica, California, June 13, 2022. (Photo by RINGO CHIU / AFP)

 

 

Families of teens who died after overdosing on drugs they bought through Snapchat and other social media platforms called Monday for tech firms to do more to address the problem.

Sam Chapman, part of a group that staged a protest Monday in front of Snapchat’s Santa Monica headquarters, told AFP his son died in February 2021 after a pill he purchased through the platform was laced with the extremely powerful opioid fentanyl.

“I’m here today to warn people about the dangers of social media, delivering drugs and other criminal acts into the lives of our families, through our children,” said Chapman, 57.

His son Sammy would have celebrated his 18th birthday last weekend.

Chapman described the horrific scene of finding his son dead on the floor in his bedroom, in what he said was called the “fentanyl death pose.”

“He had stopped breathing and fell backwards in his chair and vomited, and he choked on his own vomit… It’s a very common way of going,” said Chapman.

Of the 107,000 overdose deaths recorded last year in the United States, 70 percent were caused by “fentanyl poisoning,” which is now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45, according to the groups backing Monday’s protest.

Chapman said a drug dealer had contacted his son on Snapchat, and sent him a “colorful drug menu with pictures.”

“At the bottom it said that he delivered. And so he connected with our son and delivered the drugs to our home after we were asleep, like it was a pizza,” he added.

Like the other victims’ family members, Chapman is calling on Snapchat and other social media platforms geared toward young people to take stronger action against drug sales.

“We have been working tirelessly to help combat this national crisis by eradicating illicit drug dealers from our platform,” a Snapchat spokesperson told AFP.

“We use advanced technology to proactively detect and shut down drug dealers who try to abuse our platform, and block search results for dangerous drug-related content,” the representative added.

But Chapman said the tools currently in place do not work because dealers use emojis and code words that aren’t blocked.

The group Victims of Illicit Drugs (VOID) is demanding US law to be updated so that social networks are held liable for what happens to their users on their platforms.

“If you’re walking in a grocery store, you slip and fall, you can sue them,” said VOID president Jaime Puerta.

“The law was written in 1996,” he added.

“The legislators had no idea of where the internet would be today.”

Two Pregnant Women Arrested Over Alleged Attempt To Import, Export Illegal Drugs

A file photo of an official of the NDLEA backing the camera.

 

Two pregnant women have been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos for attempting to import and export illicit drugs through the airport in the last week.

A Brazilian returnee, Nworie Phillip Chikwendu was arrested on Tuesday, May 3rd during an inward clearance of passengers on Qatar Airways flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil enroute Doha to Lagos.

In a statement on Sunday, the Director, Media & Advocacy (NDLEA), Femi Babafemi, said that during a thorough search of his luggage, two parcels of cocaine were discovered concealed in a pair of brown slippers hidden in his oxblood backpack.

He said that a further search of the pair of black slippers worn by the suspect also led to the recovery of additional two parcels of cocaine built into the soles of his footwear, bringing the total to four parcels weighing 800grams.

“When undergoing a preliminary interview, Nworie who claimed to be a barber in Sao Paulo, said he came to Nigeria for the burial of his father. He confessed he decided to get into the criminal act because his trip was sponsored by his Brazil-based friend who gave him the drug to deliver in Lagos for a fee of N2, 000, 000.

“The following day, Wednesday 4th May, NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the airport intercepted some cartons of alcoholic drinks suspected to contain illicit drugs. A freight agent who brought the consignment for export to Dubai, UAE, Shola Ogunrinde was immediately arrested while a follow-up operation led to the arrest of a pregnant woman, Mrs. Seun Babatunde, who operates an alcohol joint in Iyana Ipaja.

“When the cartons were opened in the presence of the agent and the pregnant owner, seven parcels of cannabis and a sachet of ecstasy drug (MDMA) were found concealed inside Cans of black bullet alcoholic drinks. In her confession, Mrs. Babatunde claimed the drugs were being sent to her husband who lives in Dubai”, the statement read in parts.

Mr. Babafemi further explained that the second pregnant woman, Mrs. Gloria Asibor was arrested on Thursday 5th May while attempting to board a Turkish Airline flight to Bolonia, Spain via Istanbul, Turkey. A search of her luggage containing food items led to the discovery of 300 tablets of 200mg and 225mg high dosage Tramadol concealed in crayfish.

He noted that large consignments of psychoactive substances have been intercepted in parts of Northwest, Northeast and North central. In Kaduna, a drug dealer, Obinna Anene a.k.a Young Alhaji was arrested on Friday 6th May at Buwaya Kaduna with 50,000 tablets of Diazepam weighing 9kg; 595 tablets of Tramadol weighing 318grams and 8 tablets of Co-codamol weighing 6grams.

“Same day, a trafficker, Alhaji Modu Yahaya was caught with 26.5kg cannabis in Damaturu, Yobe state while travelling in a commercial vehicle from Abuja to Maiduguri, Borno state.

“At least, nine drug dealers were arrested by operatives in Lagos on Thursday 5th May during raids in black spots in Mushin Olosha and Akala as well as Langbasa and Ikota in Ajah area of the state with different quantities of Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, Cannabis, and Skuchies. Those arrested include Kehinde Ilori; Osho Demola Nurudeen; Kamarudeen Isiaka; Kazeem Ishola; Afeez Adebolade; Oguntana Aduragbemi; Chuks Alowai; Mrs. Bola Kazeem and Kehinde Ogunleye”, the statement added.

In the same vein, the NDLEA operatives in Plateau state, have intercepted a truck carrying 673.3kg of cannabis along Bassa/Rukuba Barracks road in Jos while the driver and his assistant fled into the bush. In other parts of the state capital, two dealers; Manga Emmanuel and Yusuf Usman were arrested with 34 pinches of cocaine and 400grams of cannabis at old airport and Rikkos respectively.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Kaduna, Yobe, Lagos and Plateau Commands of the Agency for the arrests and seizures.

He charged them and those in other commands across the country to sustain the heat on drug cartels as well as balance their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts.

Customs Intercept Illegal Drugs Worth N819m In Imo

 

The Nigeria Customs Service Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri has intercepted 1,024 cartons of contraband drugs with duty paid value of N819 million.

According to the Area controller of customs FOU Zone C, Yusuf Lawal, the drugs which were Intercepted along Ofosu-Benin expressway were identified as Colcaps Medicament, illegally shipped into the country from India without NAFDAC certification.

While also displaying some other seized items like bags of foreign rice, vehicles and second-hand clothing, Controller Lawal said the men of the Nigeria Customs Service FOU Zone C are readily prepared to fight the menace of smuggling in the zone.

He advised smugglers to look for other means of livelihood and desist from economic sabotage.

NAFDAC Raids Warehouse Stacked With Tramadol, Other Drugs

 

The National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), raided a warehouse in Lagos State, where banned and controlled pharmaceutical products were being stored.

In a statement issued on Thursday, NAFDAC’s Director General said the raid was carried out after the agency received information about nefarious activities going on in the area as well as a cartel involved in the illegal importation of drugs.

The statement said, “The Agency’s Operatives at about 1:00hrs on September 14, 2018, raided a transit warehouse at Ijora Ororo, Lagos State and discovered 187 cartons of assorted Tramadol (120mg, 200mg and 225mg respectively) and more than 49 cartons of Diazepam (a controlled drug) concealed amongst household items including but not limited to bicycle, used tyres and printers”.

According to the agency, the seized products were worth about N105,650,000 million.

The drugs have, however, been evacuated from the warehouse for further investigation.

NAFDAC advised the public to remain vigilant and not hesitate to report any suspicious activities within their environment.

NDLEA Destroys Over 130,000KG Drug Exhibits In Edo

NDLEA officials at the scene of the destruction of the illegal drugs.

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is determined to bring an end to use of illegal drugs and substances in every nook and cranny of the country.

Commander of the NDLEA in Edo State, Buba Wakawa said this on Friday during the public destruction of drugs and substances weighing a total of 36,844.7123 kilograms.

The destruction of the illegal drugs took place at the Idogbo bypass in Benin City the Edo state capital.

Wakawa during the destruction appealed to members of the public to join the agency in the war against illegal drugs as it is the only way to win the battle.

The representative of Edo State Governor at the event, Mr Sam Okoh-Ose explained that the war against drug and substance abuse is one to be taken seriously.

He assured the agency that the state government will do everything within the law to support the NDLEA.

Image of smoke from the remains of the drugs after it was burnt down by NDLEA officials in Edo State.

Hong Kong Tourists Arrested In Thailand For Smuggling Cocaine

Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) announced the arrest of three Hong Kong nationals on Saturday after they were tipped off by Hong Kong police of an illicit drug smuggling from Brazil to Hong Kong via Thailand.

Officials later identified the suspects as 19-year-old Fong Yee Ting, 22-year-old Tung Wing Yan, and 24-year-old Yau Kit Long, whose suitcases were found to have carried a total of 12.3 kilogrammes of cocaine.

All three were charged with smuggling and possessing illegal drugs.

The suspects said they were hired by a female Hong Kong national, known only by the name “Ming”, to smuggle the illicit drugs into Thailand for 8,000 Hong Kong dollar ($1,026.43) each and were supposed to meet her at a hotel in Bangkok’s downtown, Ming reportedly fled.

An investigation is underway in an effort to identify the illegal drug smuggling ring, said the ONCB secretary-general in a press release.

Reuters.

PCN To Prosecute Illegal Drug Dealers In Enugu

NAFDAC, Drug MonitoringPharmacist Council of Nigeria says its working with relevant agencies and organs of government to prosecute arrested patent medicine dealers who broke its seal during its last enforcement exercise in Enugu State.

PCN had in April 2017 sealed off 264 illegal pharmacies and medicine stores for falling short of operations standards

The organisation’s Deputy Director enforcement, Stephen Esumobi said some of the premises do not have the right facilities in place to handle the categories of medicine stock.

“The owner of this premises was arrested because he was operating illegally and he refused to update his facilities to ensure that the storage of the drugs is in line with manufacturers specifications – Most of the drugs have not met minimum requirements for safety, quality and efficacy because of poor handling. Some of these drugs when they are not properly handled, could endanger public health”

“The owner broke the seal and continued operation as at before. Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is not going to allow that. We are going to ensure that those who broke our seal in Enugu state are arrested and prosecuted”

He also noted that the agency is committed to riding the nation of illegal drugs and promoting health.

NDLEA intercepts N294 million worth of heroin in carpets

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have aborted an attempt by suspected drug syndicate to smuggle 24.5kg of heroin concealed inside carpets into Nigeria.

The consignment described in the airway bill as Pakistani hand-knotted new woollen carpets originated from Lahore, Pakistan. It left Karachi airport in an Emirate flight as unaccompanied cargo and taken to Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Shed, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.

The estimated value of the drug is N294 million. It is the first discovery of drug inside carpets in the country.

The NDLEA airport Commander, Hamza Umar said the consignment was examined by the Agency when it was abandoned by the importers.

“The suspicious cargo was monitored by undercover operatives for a week after it arrived. We decided to conduct the search when nobody came to claim it. In all, there were twelve pieces of carpets but only six contained heroin. The heroin was prepared into tiny bits inside plastic hollow treads and weaved in a way that makes it difficult to detect unless it is unfastened” Mr Hamza said.

He added that the information on the airway bill was found to be incorrect by investigators.

The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade who described the seizure as breath-taking promised to unveil the importers.

“The drug syndicate did their best concealing the drug but it was not good enough to go undetected. If drug barons will not lack concealment methods, we also will not be tired in detecting narcotics. This seizure is unique because it is the least place anyone will go to in search for narcotics. We shall continue with investigation until those behind the illegal shipment are brought to book” Mr Giade said.