🚫💊 Fake Pharma Fever: Tourist Hotspots in Mexico Riddled with Counterfeit Pills, More Than Just a ‘Hard Pill to Swallow’ 🇲🇽💀
From Puerto Vallarta to Tulum, our favorite tourist destinations in Mexico aren’t just dishing out margaritas and beach vibes. They’re also serving up counterfeit drugs, with even Adderall turning out to be methamphetamine! 😱 More than 50% of the pills that reporters bought and tested turned out to be phony, and it’s not just from shifty back-alley operations. Even well-known pharmacies are involved. These fake pills are not just a health risk, they’re potentially lethal, with some testing positive for fentanyl. And the question is, who’s gonna put an end to this real-life ‘Breaking Bad’ scenario? 😵🤔
The sunshine and tequila in Mexico are being overshadowed by a chilling discovery. It seems like there’s a new kind of ‘meth’od to the madness in pharmacies from Tulum to Tijuana. Well-known American pills are being copied with some pretty dangerous substances. Is this the newest trend in tourist souvenirs? Or a sinister turn for cartel operations?
A Times investigation earlier this year busted pharmacies in several northwestern Mexico cities selling counterfeit pills over the counter. Methamphetamine masked as Adderall, and the deadly fentanyl posing as Percocet and other opioid painkillers 🙅♀️💊. But the plot thickens! The investigation shows the problem is much wider and deeper than we thought.
So, how did this pharmaceutical pandemonium come to light? Reporters purchased and tested 55 pills from 29 pharmacies in eight cities during five trips to Mexico 🕵️♂️. More than a smidge, right? And more than 50% of them — 28 pills — were as real as unicorns. Even worse, a whopping 15 out of 40 opioid painkillers tested were fake, and mostly positive for fentanyl. The Adderall samples? 12 out of 15 tested positive for substances like methamphetamine and even MDMA, the designer drug commonly known as ecstasy. The big question is: How many party favors have been swapped for party poopers? 🎉👎
Popular seaside destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta were part of the pill mix, as well as border towns Tijuana and Nuevo Progreso. The phony drugs were mostly from independent pharmacies. But don’t get comfy just yet. In Puerto Vallarta, even a regional pharmacy chain was in on the ‘action.’ Factory-sealed bottles tested positive for powerful drugs. Is this a case of well-meaning clerks being hoodwinked, or are they part of this dangerous con? 😳🤷♀️
The problem is more than just a case of ‘bad pills’. It’s about lives. At least half a dozen Americans have overdosed or died after taking these counterfeit pills. And there could be more. As the Mexican authorities don’t routinely do detailed toxicology testing, the actual number remains a mystery 🕵️♀️💔.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has known about the problem since at least 2019. But the administration seems to be as talkative as a teenager after a curfew violation when it comes to commenting about it 🤫.
So, it’s clear we’re dealing with a pretty ‘sick’ situation here. But what are we doing about it? What are the Mexican and US authorities