Mexico’s president said Thursday that his country does not produce or consume fentanyl, despite enormous evidence to the contrary.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador appeared to depict the synthetic opioid epidemic largely as a U.S. problem, and said the United States should use family values to fight drug addiction.
His statement came during a visit to Mexico by Liz Sherwood-Randall, the White House homeland security adviser, to discuss the fentanyl crisis. It also comes amid calls by some U.S. Republicans to use the U.S. military to attack drug labs in Mexico.
The Mexican government has acknowledged in the past that fentanyl is produced at labs in Mexico using precursor chemicals imported from China. Fentanyl has been blamed for about 70,000 opioid deaths per year in the United States.
“Here, we do not produce fentanyl, and we do not have consumption of fentanyl,” López Obrador said. “Why don’t they (the United States) take care of their problem of social decay?”
He went on to recite a list of reasons why Americans might be turning to fentanyl, including single-parent families, parents who kick grown children out of their houses and people who put elderly relatives in old-age homes “and visit them once a year.”