Washington (March 13, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, and Representative David Trone (MD-06), the Commission’s co-chair, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the State Department to issue a travel advisory for travelers to Mexico. The request follows reporting from the Los Angeles Times and independent research from the University of California, Los Angeles showing that pharmacies near tourist locations across Mexico are selling pills – including Oxycodone and Adderall – that contain potentially deadly amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin.

“These adulterated drugs place unsuspecting U.S. tourist customers — some of whom are seeking to avoid high pharmaceutical drug pricing in the United States — at risk of overdose and death,” Senator Markey and Representative Trone wrote in their letter to Secretary Blinken. “The Los Angeles Times investigation found that 71% of the pills their investigators purchased from Mexican pharmacies were contaminated with powerful drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine.”

Senator Markey and Representative Trone continued, “As an immediate step, the State Department needs to warn Americans traveling to Mexico of the danger they face when purchasing pills from Mexican pharmacies.”

The State Department, through the travel advisories it issues, helps travelers assess the risks of international travel and the steps they should take to ensure their safety abroad. 

Last Congress, Senator Markey secured $70 million in the 2023 end-of-year spending package to ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the necessary resources to detect, interdict, and prevent the trafficking of fentanyl and other opioids into the U.S. The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking released its final report in February 2022. Its recommendations included reducing demand for fentanyl and other synthetic opioids through a sustained commitment to public health – including more and better access to treatment for opioid use disorder; coordinating drug control efforts across the federal government; disrupting the supply of fentanyl; and collaborating with other countries involved in producing and distributing synthetic opioids.