Mexico claims a shortage of medical fentanyl, despite cartels manufacturing large amounts of illicit fentanyl

MEXICO CITY – Mexico says it’s struggling to find enough medical fentanyl, even though the U.S. alleges that Mexico is the main country responsible for manufacturing illicit fentanyl.

According to the study published by Mexico’s National Commission on Mental Health and Addictions, fentanyl used for anesthesia in hospitals has to be imported into Mexico. The report claims that those imports also dropped by more than 50% between 2022 and 2023. 

Because of the shortage, the commission says that some anesthesiologists have had to limit usage and find their own supplies, which can be deadly. According to the Associated Press, in 2022, contaminated anesthetics triggered a meningitis outbreak in Durango, claiming the lives of about three dozen people, including many pregnant women administered epidurals. In 2023, several Americans died following surgeries in Matamoros, a Mexican border city. 

Meanwhile, the commission says Mexico’s seizures of illicit fentanyl increased from 1.24 tons in 2020 to 1.85 tons in 2023. The report also points fingers at America, attributing the rise in fentanyl addiction in Mexico to U.S. consumption.

“Despite the limitations of availability in pharmaceutical fentanyl in our country, the excessive use of opiates in recent decades in the United States has had important repercussions on consumption and supply in Mexico,” the report asserts.

The report echoes similar statements made by Mexico’s president. As Emily’s Hope previously reported, President Andrés Manuel López Obrado has refused to fight Mexican drug cartels. The president also claims that fentanyl is America’s problem and is caused by “a lack of hugs” in U.S. families.

“There is a lot of disintegration of families. There is a lot of individualism. There is a lack of love, of brotherhood, of hugs and embraces,” López Obrador said.