While between 2010 and 2019, 1,192 deaths from drug use and overdose were reported in the country, in 2020, during confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic, 1,735 deaths were recorded from this cause.
According to the report on the Situation of Mental Health and the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances in Mexico of the National Commission against Addictions, as well as statistics from the Institute for the Attention and Prevention of Addictions (IAPA) of the Government of the City of Mexico, General Directorate of Health Information (DGIS) and Forensic Medical Service (Semefo), through the Epidemiological Surveillance System of addictions (SISVEA), drug use increased 20% nationwide.
The drugs most consumed in this period were legal ones, such as alcohol, as well as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, tranquilizers, barbiturates, opium / morphine and inhalants, indicate the Units of Medical Specialties Centers for Primary Care in Addictions (UNEME-CAPA ) attached to the National Commission against Addictions.
Meanwhile, in the United States, drug overdose deaths surpassed 93,000 last year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in that country revealed that overdose deaths in 2020 increased 30%, mainly due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Social isolation due to the pandemic would be among the causes.
Drug use left 1,735 deaths in pandemic
The use of synthetic psychoactive substances increased 20%, mainly alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, tranquilizers, cocaine and fentanyl.
The confinement during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in 2020 generated a considerable increase in the consumption of various narcotic drugs and deaths from overdoses in Mexico, registering the death of 1,735 people who consumed some psychoactive substance in just 12 months. , in comparison with the 1,192 deaths due to drug use that have been registered from 2010 to 2019 in Mexico.
The consumption of some synthetic psychoactive substances increased 20% nationwide, mainly in the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and synthetic drugs such as tranquilizers, cocaine, methamphetamines and inhalants, according to the report on the Situation of Mental Health and the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances in Mexico of the National Commission against Addictions, in addition to the studies and statistics of the Institute for the Attention and Prevention of Addictions (IAPA) of the Government of Mexico City, General Directorate of Health Information (DGIS) and the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo) through the Addiction Epidemiological Surveillance System (SISVEA).
The drug that was most consumed in the north of the country was fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than morphine and whose commercial value in the United States ranges between 8 thousand dollars per kilo. This cost increased three times more due to the assurances of the Armed Forces in the country.
According to the deputy director of activities of the Institute for the Attention and Prevention of Addictions (IAPA) of Mexico City, Dr. José Antonio Alcocer, the overdoses and deaths generated in the country by fentanyl occur in greater proportion in the border area with United States, made up of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.
“Fentanyl begins to have, in the northern part of the country, a whole commercialization trying to replace opium, morphine; then here comes this phenomenon. It is 50 times more potent than morphine, than opioids and it is 10 or 20 times more harmful, “said the specialist.
He added that on many occasions in the health sector, deaths from overdoses or intoxication are not indicated in the death certificates, because what caused the death of the person is stated, but not the cause that derived it.
“An intoxication or overdose can cause a problem to the heart, to the central nervous system, a stroke can come, many causes can come. When the patient arrives at a hospital or an overdose situation, there is another type of systemic failure. Yes, it was caused by that, but death is from another cause, “he said.
According to the Units of Medical Specialties Centers for Primary Attention in Addictions (UNEME-CAPA) attached to the National Commission against Addictions, the drugs most consumed in confinement in Mexico were legal ones, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, tranquilizers, barbiturates, opium / morphine, and inhalants.
In 2020 alone, the UNEME-CAPA attended to 26,180 people who requested treatment for the use of psychoactive substances, 18,870 non-users of substances, that is, people who had a risk factor for drug use, or family members or other consumers, serving 45,050.
As a result of the pandemic, in the UNEME-CAPA there was a reduction in the demand for treatment for substance use, compared to the care provided in an average year. In 2019, 45,598 people were served, while in 2020, 26,180.
In the Youth Integration Centers during 2020, 17,886 people were treated for the use of psychoactive substances. Because of covid-19, they also registered a decrease in the demand for treatment, compared to the average request in 2019 of 27,891 patients.
Records of the General Directorate of Health Information reveal that, in 2020, 33,262 people went to the emergency service for mental behavioral disorders, that is, an overdose due to drug use throughout the country.
Alcohol consumption registered the highest number of medical emergencies, with 18,325 cases; followed by multiple drugs, with 8,428 cases; and in third place, the use of cocaine, with 1,486 cases.
Regarding deaths, when consuming psychoactive substances, 2020 closed with 1,735 people, with 1,565 men and 170 women, accumulating the highest number of cases among people between 20 and 34 years of age, according to data on deaths and substance use from the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo), through the Epidemiological Surveillance System for addictions.
Alcohol was the substance with the most deaths, in men, 939; and in women, 113; followed by amphetamine-type stimulants, which have a greater presence in men, with 263 and in women, only 22.
According to data from the General Directorate of Health Information, a considerable increase in deaths due to drug use, in the period from 2010 to 2019, is that there were 28 thousand 122 deaths due to mental and behavioral disorders, due to the use of substances; of these, 26,705 were for alcohol consumption, 225 for tobacco and 1,192 for illicit drugs.
In this period, the use of inhalants was the substance associated with the highest number of deaths, 159; followed by opiates, 82; cocaine, 54; and from other types of stimulants, 47. Likewise, due to the consumption of multiple substances in this period there were 827 deaths related to people with mental and behavioral disorders.
During 2019, 2 thousand 609 deaths were registered due to the consumption of psychoactive substances. In this group of deaths, alcohol was the substance associated with the most deaths, with 90.2%. It is striking that, in the case of women, the second substance associated with deaths was the consumption of inhalants, with 15.7%. While the use of multiple substances was the second cause of death among men and the third among women.
From January to December 2020, the Navy, the Army and the National Guard seized a ton of 301 kilos of fentanyl from organized crime, 486% more.
The US registered 93 thousand deaths
In the United States, drug overdose deaths last year were more than 93,000. One of the factors could be linked to social isolation due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Arman Maddela, a recovering drug addict from the Shoreline Recovery Center in San Diego, said that with the isolation, boredom brought thoughts that drinking would be entertaining.
On the streets, drugs became more deadly; traffickers mixed fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine to boost its effects, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIDA).
On the contrary, the closing of the borders did not reduce the supply of drugs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US reported that overdose deaths in 2020 represented a 30% increase, mainly due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
This increase is the most pronounced in the last 30 years, going from 72,151 deaths in 2019 to 93,331 in 2020.