September 16, 2019
 In Opioid Crisis

Country: Mexico
Delegate Name: Lauren Ye

Opioids are a class of drugs including heroin, fentanyl, and morphine that are used as painkillers. Opioids have proven to be highly addictive substances and the opioid crisis has affected a great number of countries throughout the years. Countries in North and Latin America have been immensely affected by this epidemic. The opioid epidemic is a global issue in which every country has a responsibility to aid their own citizens and other countries, as opioid use affects economies and societies in virtually every country.
Historically, Mexico has not recorded a high use of opioids, however, there have been documents of heroin use. Several factors have contributed to the low rate of opioid use in Mexico. Mexico’s extensive legislation on opioid use has placed barriers to the ability to access opioids. These legislations restrict both the patients and healthcare workers from being able to prescribe and attain opioids. Another factor is the cost of opioids. The mean monthly salary in Mexico is not enough to sustain a continuing use of opioids, therefore not many people are able to afford these drugs. Despite not having an internal problem with opioids, Mexico has been greatly affected by the opioid crisis in North and Latin America. In 2016, opioids caused almost 80% of drug-related deaths in the US. Compared to the US and Canada, Mexico’s opioid crisis is not as severe, but as a country bordering the US, Mexico plays a major role in transporting illegal or illicit opioids such as heroin across the border. Recently, internal and external pressure has increased the threat of a severe opioid epidemic in Mexico. The pharmaceutical industry has shifted its focus and is increasing its presence in Latin American countries. Opioid manufacturers have also increased taxation in countries like the US in order to push the market into low and middle-income countries. Mexico’s population is getting older, and with age comes disease. This will increase the demand for drugs such as opioids. Furthermore, deportation has been a major cause of this epidemic. Studies have shown that in Tijuana, Mexico, a city bordering the US, 40% of people who inject drugs have been deported from the US. Mexico is now the U.S.’s leading supplier of heroin, and this has been accompanied by increased use within the country. Although historically, Mexico has not had a severe opioid crisis within the country, the threat of one has increased in the past few years, and Mexico also plays a crucial role in trafficking heroin and other illicit drugs.
The opioid crisis is a major issue that needs a solution. It is critical that more funding goes to assisting those that already have an opioid addiction. Sufficient funding should be provided for rehabilitation centers It is also important that healthcare providers and workers, patients, and citizens, in general, be educated on the danger of opioids and how to deal with illegal prescribing and misuse of opioids. The opioid crisis in Mexico and the entire world is an issue that threatens the well-being and functionality of the human population, economies, and societies.

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