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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, February 3, 2020

Fentanyl enters the heroin market in Tijuana, Mexico

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat   TY Neal  Insight Crime

Without knowing it, drug users in Tijuana are being exposed to fentanyl, a deadly opioid, in a place where drug smuggling is common, but where until recently the effects of the opioid crisis had not been observed.

A study conducted at three needle exchange points in Tijuana found traces of fentanyl in 55 of 59 samples of what consumers took for white heroin powder, Mexican researchers said in a December 2019 report.

The researchers, who analyzed almost 90 syringes and other instruments used by consumers of heroin and methamphetamines, found that about 75 percent were positive for the synthetic opioid. The only samples that did not contain traces of fentanyl were described by consumers as black heroin or crystal methamphetamine.

Since the mid-1990s, black heroin was the main form of heroin produced in western Mexico. But Clara Fleiz, a researcher at the Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz National Institute of Psychiatry and lead author of the study, said she and her team are increasingly observing the white form, easier to mix with fentanyl powder. Although locally known as China White, it is not about the form of heroin in Southeast Asia that bears the same name.

Heroin users in Tijuana "believe they are consuming China White, but in reality they are being exposed to fentanyl," and its dangers, Fleiz said in communication with InSight Crime.

Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin, and lethal even in a tiny dose. The researchers decided to undertake the study because of the concern that fentanyl was part of the local drug supply when, in recent years, they began to see a sharp increase in overdose victims who needed resuscitation with naloxone, [Narcan]a potent antidote for opioids

"We began to know information," says Fleiz, "of a white powder that was more potent."

InSight Crime Analysis
Three different factors may be allowing the penetration of fentanyl in Tijuana. First, the city on the border between Mexico and California sits on a major smuggling corridor of fentanyl into the United States, which has been in a crisis caused by opioids for a decade and has experienced a dramatic increase in  deaths and  overdoses by fentanyl.

The ports of entry Southern California spent more than half of the nearly 2,500 pounds of fentanyl seized nationwide in fiscal year 2019, according to information from the office of Customs and Border Protection US (US Customs and Border Protection, CBP). The amount of fentanyl seized by California CBP agents also increased in the last year. Agents seized 1,472 pounds of the narcotic, an increase of 32 percent compared to the 2018 fiscal year.

In an InSight Crime investigation into the increase in Mexico's participation in fentanyl traffic, the state of Baja California, northwestern Mexico, stood out as a key traffic corridor.

Traffickers who manage to introduce illicit fentanyl to the United States leave part of the drug in Tijuana, authorities said to Televisa. The drug is also manufactured in that state. In Mexicali, the capital, the authorities raided a fentanyl laboratory run by a Bulgarian biochemist.

Second, the powerful Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel (CJNG) has infiltrated the ports of Lázaro Cárdenas and Manzanillo, on the Pacific coast, which are important points of entry for fentanyl and precursor chemicals that arrive illegally from China.

The processing and transfer of fentanyl is delegated to smaller criminal groups, many of which have links to the cartels and experience in the development of other synthetic drugs, such as methamphetamines.

These subcontractors also supply local retailers. Narcotics become a “weapon to control the territory and establish a local base for small-scale criminals who dispute colony control,” said Nathan P. Jones, assistant professor of security studies at Sam Houston State University, from Texas, to InSight Crime. The homicide streak of recent years in Tijuana was triggered by fights between small retailers over control of the sale of drugs, especially methamphetamines.

Jones said that this dynamic may be responsible for the appearance of fentanyl in the local supply of narcotics in Tijuana. Both the Jalisco and Sinaloa Cartel dispute the control of drug routes in Baja California.

Third, historically Tijuana has had a large segment of its population with narcotic addiction problems.

Tijuana has about 10,000 people who inject drugs, Fleiz said. The increase in overdoses among heroin users in Tijuana began in 2017, the same time that there was an increase in seizures of fentanyl along the U.S.-Mexico border, he explained.

Recently, the Mexican government launched a campaign with the alert: "fentanyl kills." But, as Fleiz and his colleagues point out, consumers generally don't know if the heroin they inject is mixed with fentanyl.

The Mexican government can save lives by facilitating access to naxolone, the opioid antidote, says Fleiz. Many states in the United States have allowed the sale of medication, which is given by injection or by nasal route, in pharmacies , and is in the police kit and emergency services in many states, such as New York and Massachusetts.

Although Fleiz does not believe that fentanyl takes as many lives in Mexico as in the United States, he does claim that overdose deaths will increase.

Due to the potency of the drug, consumers have begun looking for white powdered heroin, which is mostly contaminated, as Fleiz warns, and prefer it to other forms.


  1. Expect more deaths, so sad.

  2. Despite its consequences users will not be intimidated from using. Sad to say. The grip of such disease plaguing many communities will always remain an epidemic. Until medical treatment is applied and not underfunded by bureaucrats.

  3. Those junkies are already dead but don't know it yet, those drugs are too strong and most die using them in the long run anyway.. Fentanyl just kills faster..
    I used to do drink alcohol and use crystal ones in a while but I rather not POISON my body anymore, our bodies are not ment to be contaminated like that

    1. Keith Richards disagrees and will probably outlive you!

  4. Leave that shit in there. Thats the dirtiest drug out there

  5. The problem is that, yes it will cause more OD deaths and when the word gets around about an OD heavy user's look for de dealer that sold that lethal dose because they want to get a stronger high while being ignorant about what they are really buying. It took me 4 fentanyl OD's last one I had to be brought back to life after 4 minutes of being dead to actually quit my addiction. Almost 2 yrs sober now.

    1. Narcan? Did you carry it with you?

    2. First OD no, 2nd and 3rd yes, last one no.

    3. I applaud your comment @ 1:13.
      Moreover, the effort and strength to admit the truth. Along with the reality behind this epidemic.
      Addiction has plagued many communities. Devastating families from within and around them.
      For many years I did not speak to my little sister because of usage. Raising & supporting her kids mentally and financially. Proud to say my niece is graduating with honors this year. Along with sister clean for about 5 years.

  6. Fentanyl is basically chemical warefare from China. They have admitted as much in writing. Why do you think the Chinese Govt allows massive unregulated production and export? To kill people in the USA and anywhere else along the way is just a bonus. It's been here for a while and will get much worse. China's plan for the world is rape of remaining global resource at any cost. Have a nice day.

    1. @4:10 Hey bozo before the US invaded Afghanistan the Taliban banned poppy production (and thus heroin). Ever since the US took over poppy and heroin production in Afghanistan has boomed. How you explain that clown???

    2. Well 3:29, the US is also guilty of using this kind of warfare... Hell, the US is guilty of doing that with crack to its own citizens back in the day.

    3. 329 the taliban banned production so they could store it, it stores well and stays potent, so they could spike the price and keep profits for themselves. Keep trying tho you still need to study...

      Homey da clown 🤡

  7. pretty sure its been in TJ for years...

  8. What up bb fam - been in rehab the last two months. Relapsed on opiates after shattering my ankle a few months ago. Was clean for a long time before that. Been completely sober for 74 days now and am on the Vivitrol shot. So glad to be free of this shit again. It will steal your sole. I can thank this website for helping me to make the decision to get clean again, this site reminds me of the true cost of these drugs.

    Hope everyone's been doing well.


    1. Hey Phelso...I wondered what happened to you. I am sorry to hear of the relapse but happy you are in recovery. I had a close family member, my former SIL and father of my 7 year old grandbabies die 2 wks ago from OD. He was clean for 11 years, same thing a auto accident almost took his life left him an addict when they cut his pain med off way too soon. he went to the streets. This relapse was an emotional relapse and may have been intentional. I loved him he was so kind I nicknamed him Buddha.

      So take care please

      So sad. I was heartbroken

    2. 👍 phelpso
      GC 🤡

    3. Thanks Chivis, I appreciate the kind words! Yeah that’s pretty much what happened to me, I was even staying at my moms house and letting her control my pain killers so there was no risk of me abusing them. But the doctors took me off them to soon and I inevitably hit the streets and then was back in it. The opiate crisis has really screwed over actual patients that do need pain management. But luckily it didn’t take me to long to see I needed help. Now I’m just living a life of full on sobriety and spirituality. No booze, weed, psychedelics, nothing.

      I am really sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and everyone that’s fallen with this addiction.


    4. Big kudos Phelpso.
      Good to hear that you are taking control of your life. Rather, awakening to the reality of hurt many go through (users & support from family members).

      Best wishes always


    5. E42 - Thanks brotha, it’s much appreciated! Hope all has been going well for you!


  9. Sorry for both of you The loss of a loved one and the loss of your meds
    But now that your clean can i ask you are you still in pain ??

    Tberes a pain group called Dont punish pain web site

    I am still on mine they took my meds down but not away ..
    I know they weeded out alot of abusers they were addicted but really didnt need them Oxy and hydros play games on your brain Its a known fact that your brain makes you think you hurt more buts its the oxy hydro tricking your brain the pain feels real but its not and over time you realize you dont hurt as bad as you thought.
    Thank you for this site
    Peace to both of you and your familys struggles
    Raise those babies with tons of love and understanding

    1. 4:47 - Thanks for your kind words. I mean my ankle still hurts, there is quite a bit of nerve damage. But I’ve been doing a lot of physical therapy for it and that’s helped more then anything! I still need to take ibuprofen from time to time but no need for any kind of opiate. And yes opiates definitely do seem to make the pain worse when you’re on them to the point you become physically addicted and then you don’t have them. But the longer you’re off then the better it gets. However, there are some chronic pain patients that are going to always need opiates unfortunately. Good luck!



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