Fentanyl consumption increases 500% in Mexico and sets off government alarms. In almost four years, more than 1.5 million people have died from fentanyl and crystal methamphetamine use in the Latin American region.
The consumption of fentanyl in Mexico has been rampant among young people between 15 and 29 years of age so far this year 2022, according to public servants of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, experts, and academics, who also revealed that the consumption of this substance and crystal meth in the country has shot up by 500%, which has raised the alarms of health authorities.
During the forum "Consumption of Fentanyl and Crystal in Young People. The case of the Northern Border", which was held in the Senate of the Republic, it was detailed that from 2019 to date more than 1.5 million people have died from fentanyl and crystal meth use in Latin America, as well as the overdoses that have occurred.
It is not just one, it is a family of related substances, very active, capable of generating overdoses, very cheap, and highly available.
The head of the National Commission against Addictions (Conadic), Gady Zabicky Sirot, said.
The popularity of this synthetic opioid has skyrocketed both in Mexico and the United States, because it is extremely potent, is sold in pill form, and is relatively cheap to produce, where overdose deaths have already begun to be detected in the last few weeks, mainly between the border of both countries.
The participating specialists explained that crystal meth is more potent than morphine, in addition to the fact that one kilo of this drug is enough to produce half a million doses. They also stated that both crystal meth and fentanyl are available on the streets of Mexico at a lower price than other drugs, and their consumption has increased among truck drivers, day laborers, and maquiladora workers.
The Ministry of Finance has a study about the use of fentanyl and crystal meth and is talking about how from 2019 to date we have us more than 1.5 million patients who have died.
The director of the Higher School of Medicine of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Salvador Lara
Meanwhile, the specialist Silvia Cruz Martín del Campo, level 3 researcher of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), recalled that fentanyl is a synthetic drug by nature, whose elaboration process can take less than two hours. She stated that it is 100 times more potent than morphine.
In 2016, Mexican authorities seized only 15 kilograms of fentanyl in the entire Mexican territory through some operations carried out in states such as Nuevo León and Baja California; however, the figure skyrocketed by 2021 when they seized more than 1,852 kilograms, that is, an increase of more than 100 times.
The problem of this drug is such that the Mexican government has launched several alerts so far in 2022, due to the overdoses that state and local authorities have begun to report, mainly in Tijuana and Monterrey, although the distribution of this drug could reach more cities in a short time, due to the popularity of this drug among consumers.
The Mexican government warning about fentanyl
"An enormously large social group was created with opioid addiction, and that's where fentanyl appears, a processed chemical that is also used in medicine and is used as an anesthetic," said Hugo López-Gatell, undersecretary of Health Promotion and Prevention at the Health Secretariat. And he warned that this drug "has already escaped to illegal markets" in the United States and now there are "signs of its use in Mexico.
Fentanyl emerged after different population groups in the United States became addicted to opioids in recent years through prescriptions issued by pharmacists.
In terms of drug consumption in general, the expert noted that Mexico has had "rapid growth" since the 1990s when it went from being a producer country for its northern neighbor to a consumer country.
Also, the government announced that by 2020 it will increase coverage for the treatment of hepatitis C, linked to injectable substances. "Hepatitis C, because of its massive dimension and its connection with some addictions such as injectables, requires a public health approach," López-Gatell said.
What is fentanyl?
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic approved for the treatment of severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or tablets and can be diverted for misuse and abuse in the United States.
However, the most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are related to illegally manufactured fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets because of its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combined product, with or without the user's knowledge, to increase its euphoric effects.
Use of naloxone
Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid-related overdoses, including heroin and fentanyl, and is a critical tool for preventing fatal opioid overdoses. Depending on state and local laws in the United States, the police may administer this drug. Multiple doses of naloxone may need to be given per overdose event due to the high potency of fentanyl relative to other opioids.
Ovidio Guzman and fentanyl
Journalist Jorge Fernández Menéndez reported that authorities had been persecuting Ovidio Guzmán López, son of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, for almost a month. The reason," said Jorge, "is that Ovidio controlled the laboratories for processing fentanyl in Culiacán, one of which had been discovered weeks earlier. This drug has been sent to the United States and has caused thousands of deaths in that country".
This Wednesday, authorities confirmed that Guzmán López is considered one of the main fentanyl traffickers to the United States and that's why the failed operation in Culiacán that concluded with his release was carried out.