Latin American illicit drug business

Watch the pharmacists

The idea that fentanyl addiction is unlikely to take root in South America may be over-optimistic. A special investigation by the Los Angeles Times published in February this year had disturbing implications. It found that pharmacies in a group of north-western Mexican cities near the US border were selling counterfeit prescription pills laced with stronger drugs such as fentanyl and passing them off as legitimate medicines. The newspaper found that pills sold as oxycodone and Adderall in Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas contained fentanyl and methamphetamines. In total the newspaper found that 71% of a total of 17 pills tested came up positive for more powerful drugs. That meant that both US tourists and Mexican residents may be unknowingly purchasing what they think are legitimate low-potency over-the-counter pain killers, which are in fact laced with fentanyl and therefore expose them to risks of addiction and even death by overdose.

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