Opioid tramadol destabilizes, fuels terror in parts of Africa, UN warns

The illegal trade and growing abuse of tramadol, a synthetic opioid, are destabilizing parts of West Africa, especially in the Sahel region, where it is fueling terror groups and providing revenue for them to carry out attacks, UN officials and security experts say.

The nonmedical use of tramadol has become such a health crisis in areas like northern Mali and Niger that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, issued a warning this week to the international community. The problem "is serious, worrying, and needs to be addressed as soon as possible," Pierre Lapaque, UNODC's regional representative in West and Central Africa, said in a statement. "We cannot let the situation get any further out of control."'Think Al Capone and the liquor gangsters'Less ...