More U.S. Residents Jailed in Mexico for Illegal Prescription Drug Purchases
The San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday examined the increased number of U.S. residents who are arrested and jailed in Mexico for purchasing medications without a prescription from a Mexican physician. Since early last year, Mexican authorities have arrested and jailed 67 U.S. residents for the practice. Mexican authorities, rather than arrest pharmacists, "more frequently target the customers, knowing they are easy arrests and in many cases will be only too willing to pay bribes" to avoid jail time, the Chronicle reports. The average length of jail time for the offense is about 48 hours. Although Mexican authorities release most of those arrested after they produce documentation that proves they have a "medical need" for a prescription, "those who can't or who are suspected of buying drugs with trafficking in mind can be sentenced to lengthy terms," the Chronicle reports.
According to the Chronicle, Mexico has become an alternative for U.S. residents who seek lower-cost prescription drugs, and many have begun to purchase prescription drugs in Mexican border cities such as Tijuana, Algodones, Nogales and Ciudad Juarez. In response, some pharmacists in Tijuana have begun a campaign to warn U.S. residents about the "hazards of buying drugs without prescriptions and to repair Tijuana's image," the Chronicle reports (Kraul, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/16).