Lack of hugs led to US fentanyl crisis, Mexican leader says

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president said Friday that U.S. families are to blame for the fentanyl overdose crisis because they don’t hug their children enough.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s comments reflect a week of provocative statements from him about the crisis caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid traded by Mexican cartels that is blamed for up to 70,000 overdose deaths in the United States each year.

López Obrador said that family values ​​have been broken in the United States because parents do not allow their children to live at home for too long. He also denied that Mexico produces fentanyl.

On Friday, Mexico’s president said at a morning news briefing that the problem was caused by “a lack of hugs, a lack of hugs.”

“There is a lot of breaking up of families, there is a lot of individualism, there is a lack of love, brotherhood, hugs and hugs,” López Obrador said of the US crisis. “That’s why they (US officials) have to allocate funds to address the causes.”

Lopez Obrador has repeatedly said that Mexico’s close-knit family values ​​saved him from a wave of fentanyl overdoses. Experts say Mexican cartels now make so much money from the US market that they see no need to sell fentanyl in their own market.

Cartels often sell meth in Mexico, where the drug is more popular because it is believed to help people work harder.

Lopez Obrador has been devastated by calls to designate Mexican drug gangs as terrorist organizations in the United States. Some Republicans have said they support using the US military to punish Mexican cartels.

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On Wednesday, López Obrador called the anti-drug policy in the United States a failure Wednesday and proposed a ban in both countries on the medical use of fentanyl – even though a small amount of the drug is diverted from hospitals to the illegal market.

US authorities estimate that most of the illegal fentanyl is produced in clandestine Mexican laboratories using Chinese chemicals. A relatively small portion of the illegal market comes from the medicinal fentanyl used as an anesthetic in surgeries and other procedures.

There have been only scattered and isolated reports of glass vials of medicinal fentanyl on the illicit market. Most illegal fentanyl is made by Mexican cartels by counterfeiting pills made to look like other drugs like Xanax, oxycodone or Percocet.

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