Parents in the United States are to blame for the country’s drug overdose crisis because they don’t give their children enough hugs, Mexico’s president said.
It is the latest provocation by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on the problems caused by fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid trafficked by Mexican cartels and believed to be responsible for about 70,000 deaths in the United States a year.
He had been shocked by calls in America to designate Mexican drug gangs as terrorist organizations.
Some Republicans have said they support the use of the US military to crack down on the cartels.
Mr Lopez Obrador said family values have collapsed in the United States, because parents don’t let their children live at home long enough.
He also denied this Mexico produces fentanyl.
Referring to the crisis in the United States, Lopez Obrador said: “There is a lot of disintegration of families, there is a lot of individualism, there is a lack of love, of brotherhood, of hugs and hugs.”
He has repeatedly argued that Mexico’s united family values are what protected him from the surge in fentanyl overdoses.
But experts said the cartels are making so much money now from the US market that they don’t see the need to sell fentanyl at home.
Gangs often sell meth in Mexico, where the drug is more popular because it supposedly helps people work harder.
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Lopez Obrador also called US drug policies a failure and proposed to ban the use of fentanyl in medicine in both countries, despite the fact that there is little evidence of the drugs moving from hospitals to the illegal market.
US authorities estimate that most of the illicit fentanyl is produced in clandestine Mexican laboratories using Chinese chemicals.
Relatively little comes from the diversion of the medicinal fentanyl used as an anesthetic in surgery and other procedures.
Most of the illegal fentanyl is compressed by Mexican cartels into counterfeit pills made to look like other drugs.
The opioid is 50 times more potent than heroin and even a small dose can be fatal.
It quickly became the deadliest drug in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.