Alarming message about Nigerian schoolkids eating new ‘strawberry’ drug a hoax

A new drug known as “strawberry quick” is being handed out to kids in schoolyards, a message on Facebook claims. The post has been shared over a million times so far.

It says the drug is a form of the stimulant crystal methamphetamine, but looks like strawberry pop rocks – the candy that sizzles and ‘pops’ in your mouth. It also comes in other flavours, it adds.

“They are calling it strawberry meth or strawberry quick. Kids are ingesting this thinking that it is candy and being rushed off to the hospital in dire condition.”

The message contains disturbing pictures of a child with a disfigured mouth, supposedly a result of taking the drug. Various shapes and colours of the “candy” are also shown.

“Please instruct your children not to accept candy from strangers and even not to accept candy that looks like this from a friend,” it warns.

But Nigerian authorities told Africa Check that they have not been notified of any incident to do with a “strawberry” drug in the country’s schools.

“We’ve not had any report about a form of strawberry crystal meth or ‘strawberry quick’ being given out to kids as sweets,” Jonah Achema, a spokesperson for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, said.

It’s also a well-travelled hoax, as other fact-checkers have found. The message has been circulating in various forms through different countries from as far back as 2007, determined.

US authorities have repeatedly confirmed that they have not seized any flavoured meth. While there are cases of coloured meth, there is little evidence that it is deliberately flavoured by dealers to target children. Any colouring is a result of its manufacturing process or, in one case, of a dealer trying to evade police. – Lee Mwiti (8/11/2018)


Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check has partnered with Facebook to combat fake news and false information on the social platform. This fact-check is part of the initiative.

As part of its third-party fact-checking programme, Facebook allows its partners to see public articles, pictures or videos that have been flagged as potentially inaccurate.

Content rated as “false” by fact-checkers will be downgraded in news feeds. This means fewer people will see it.

You can help us identify fake news and false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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