REPORT: US warns about fake, dangerous pills being sold in Mexico

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The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning about dangerous counterfeit pills being sold at pharmacies in Mexico that often contain fentanyl.

The travel alert posted Friday says Americans should “exercise caution when purchasing medication in Mexico.”

Small pharmacies in tourist areas and border regions sometimes sell medications advertised as OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax and others without a prescription.

The State Department warned that these pills are likely counterfeit, saying, “Counterfeit pills are readily advertised on social media and can be purchased at small, non-chain pharmacies in Mexico along the border and in tourist areas.”

They added that such pills “may contain deadly doses of fentanyl.”

According to a study performed at the University of California, Los Angeles, 68% of 40 Mexican pharmacies visited in four northern Mexico cities sold Xanax, Oxycodone, or Adderall. They found that 27% of those pharmacies sold fake pills.

“Brick and mortar pharmacies in Northern Mexican tourist towns are selling counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine,” said the UCLA study.

“These pills are sold mainly to US tourists, and are often passed off as controlled substances such as Oxycodone, Percocet, and Adderall,” it added.

Assistant professor-in-residence of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Chelsea Shover, said, “These counterfeit pills represent a serious overdose risk to buyers who think they are getting a known quantity of a weaker drug.”

In the request, a spokesperson from the State Department wrote, “The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We take seriously our commitment to provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable information about every country in the world so they can make informed travel decisions.”

On Twitter, the State Department of Travel wrote, “Mexico: There are recent media reports regarding counterfeit pharmaceuticals available at pharmacies in Mexico, including those tainted with fentanyl and methamphetamine. Exercise caution when purchasing medication in Mexico.”

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