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Opioid Drugs

Potentially Lethal Drugs are Being Sold Without Regulations in Mexico

— April 4, 2023

Studies have recently revealed that 68% of forty separate Mexican pharmacies are actively selling Oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall, all powerful prescription drugs available only with a doctor’s consent in the U.S., with little to no regulations. Perhaps even more dangerous, approximately 27% of those pharmacies sold counterfeit pills as well, which contained lethal doses of opioid drugs, including fentanyl and heroin, as well as   methamphetamine, cocaine and other chemicals.

Upon learning of these results, multiple states have spoken that they are committed to keeping United States citizens safe, secure, and informed with reliable information about every country in the world to make the best-informed travel decisions possible. Bringing these dangerous drugs into the U.S. without a valid prescription in the states remains illegal. Moreover, citizens who choose to purchase pills without regulations in Mexico risk losing their lives as it remains uncertain what’s actually in them.

Overall, the counterfeit medications in Mexico may just simply prove ineffective, or imminent danger can arise after the ingestion of just one pill with one or more of said “dangerous ingredients.” Within the country, advertising campaigns are constantly promoting the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, and the ease of obtaining these drugs.

Potentially Lethal Drugs are Being Sold Without Regulations in Mexico
Photo by Alexandro Chatzidimos from Pexels

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, journeyed to the forty pharmacies located across four cities in Northern Mexico. Of the 68% they found to be selling drugs that require a prescription in the U.S. without regulations, they discovered fentanyl, heroin, and/or methamphetamine were sold at 11 of these pharmacies. These pills present “serious overdose risk to buyers who think they are getting a known quantity of a weaker drug,” said senior author Chelsea Shover, assistant professor-in-residence of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. 

Similar research conducted in February of this year found, after a tram tested seventeen pills bought in various pharmacies across northwestern Mexico, 71% tested positive for an illegal substance. Unfortunately, many of these lethal drugs are making their way into the United States, causing a drastic uptick in overdose fatalities.

Mexican drug cartels have been largely responsible for manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pharmaceuticals. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that around 27% of pharmaceuticals found in Mexico contain potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. Fentanyl, along with other high potency synthetic opioids, remain the main driving factor behind the opioid crisis, with fentanyl involved in more deaths than any other illicit drug. A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary depending on the individual’s body size, tolerance, amount and frequency of previous usage (i.e., tolerance level), and other factors. 

The Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program Report on the recent drug sampling and testing is available on the website. The hardships associated with this crisis are related to innumerable forms of trauma inflicted “personally,” as well as, for any involved parties in an opioid related incident.

Here are some ways, according to federal regulators, to stay safe when dealing with pharmaceuticals in Mexico:

– Only buy medicines from licensed pharmacies and ask for a receipt. Do not buy medicines from open markets.

– Ask the pharmacist whether the drug has the same ingredients as one’s current medicine and bring the medicine/bottle with the prescription on it to the pharmacy.

– Make sure that the medicine is in its original packaging upon purchase.

 – Look closely at the packaging. Poor-quality printing or packaging can be a sign of counterfeit products.

Remaining diligent is especially vital as the opioid epidemic continues and Mexico, with its lax regulations, continues to be one of the biggest perpetrators in the crisis.


US warns about fake, dangerous pills being sold in Mexico

U.S. issues warning about Mexican pharmacies selling tainted, counterfeit pills

U.S. Travelers Warned About Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl in Mexico Pharmacies

Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program Report

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