Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that the fentanyl overdose crisis in the US is the fault of American families who don’t hug their children enough.
The president’s statement comes at the end of a week of provocative comments from him about the synthetic opioid, which has been trafficked by Mexican cartels and blamed for around 70,000 overdose deaths each year in the US.
López Obrador argues that family values have broken down in the US because parents don’t allow their children to live at home long enough, and he denies that Mexico produces fentanyl.
Lack of Hugs and Embraces
López Obrador attributes the problem to a “lack of hugs, of embraces”, which he says has led to disintegration of families and individualism in the US.
He believes that US officials should allocate funds to address the root causes of the crisis rather than putting all the blame on Mexico. López Obrador repeatedly claims that Mexico’s close-knit family values have saved it from the wave of fentanyl overdoses.
Mexican Cartels and Fentanyl Trafficking
Experts argue that Mexican cartels are making so much money from the US market that they have no need to sell fentanyl in their home market.
The cartels typically sell methamphetamines in Mexico, where the drug is more popular because it is said to increase productivity.
López Obrador has also been stung by calls in the US to designate Mexican drug gangs as terrorist organizations, and some Republicans have suggested using the US military to crack down on the cartels.
Ban on Fentanyl Use
On Wednesday, López Obrador called anti-drug policies in the US a failure and proposed a ban on fentanyl use in medicine in both countries, even though little of the drug crosses from hospitals into the illegal market.
US authorities estimate that most illegal fentanyl is produced in clandestine Mexican labs using Chinese precursor chemicals, while relatively little of the illegal market comes from diverting medicinal fentanyl used as anesthesia.
Most illegal fentanyl is pressed by Mexican cartels into counterfeit pills made to look like other medications, such as Xanax, oxycodone or Percocet.