This post is based on an amazing broadcast I heard on KPCC, a local NPR radio-station; the story was part of Zocalo radio.
In the story, Dr. Josh Kun spoke about the struggles of the war on drugs and the recent massive casualties on the southern side of the border. I had talked about this violence in a past post, but hearing about it from the point of view of someone else made me realize all the more how desperate the situation is.
Drug smuggling, money, and reality
As Josh pointed out, drug-dealing and smuggling bring in so much money (billions of dollars annually) that it is at best naive, and at worse, stupid, to think that guns and enforcement are going to do the job. When there are tens of billions of dollars at stake in areas of the world that are deeply entrenched in severe poverty, the money is going to win.
I’ve had personal experience with this, with Mexican Federales bringing in cocaine in the tires of police cars. When faced with smuggling operations like that, all the sweeping governmental mandates won’t change a thing.
How do we fix the cocaine problem?
Given the fact that the US supplies the drug dealers not only with the money (we buy more than 50% of the world’s drugs), but also with the guns, it seems to me that there are only 2 ways to make a dent in the business:
1) We have to do a better job at treating, and preventing, the massive drug-abuse problem in this country. I’m working on this, and I haven’t failed at much in my life (yet), so hold on tight, I’m on it.
2) We have to do whatever we can to increase the standard of living in these places. That way, the deaths, the shootings, the violence, and the fear that permeate the border towns on both sides of the US-Mexican border affected by this are simply no longer worth it. If given a choice between starvation and a cocaine run, most of us would choose the cocaine; the choice is a lot simpler when there’s food on the table and soccer balls for the kids to play with.
That’s it, that’s our goal. This is how we make the world of drug abuse, smuggling, brain-damage, imprisonment, and death, better. We don’t do it with guns; instead we used common sense, we use our heads. We can’t beat out poverty with bullets, the human will to survive and thrive will keep producing soldiers.
7 responses to “And the winner is… Cocaine: The US-Mexico drug war.”
Congratulations on your blog, your help and this post. Im Mexican, and well, not every mexican is in extreme poverty (including some mexican drug dealers), but yes, poverty is a big issue in this problem, and Im glad you see the other side of the court: The USA addiction and use of drugs. I wish we could work together as countries and stop this violence and “war against drugs” which nobody is winning!
My best form Mexico City 🙂
Hey there So,
I wasn’t suggesting that every Mexican is poor, so please forgive me if my words seemed to say that. My point was that the “soldiers” for many of these organizations, both in the US and in Mexico, are recruited because of the allure of money. For those who are poor, the allure is greater; sometimes so great that it seems irresistible.
Thanks a lot for your comment and your reading,
It is Ok, dont worry I wasnt offended at all. Just wanted to clarify.
Thanks for the post.
This is such a tough battle with a path I am not sure where it will lead. The allure to sell drugs seems easier than say working in an office. The money comes quicker but the risk is scary as heck.
Education remains a strong avenue to follow.
Yeah, there’s no doubt that the money and everything else that comes along with dealing is keeping most dealers in it regardless of consequences. I know that from personal experience. I met quite a few people in jail for whom drug dealing was a family business. How do you deal with that???
We need research that tells us if drug legalization would create more problems than it would cure.
The thousands of deaths caused by prohibition plus all the other prohibition created problems lead me to think legalization would be the better alternative.
I wonder how many more addicts there would be with legalization. If you could get a prescription for your drug, at least you would have to check in with a doctor once in a while, get pure drugs, clean needles, wouldn’t have to worry about criminals, paying extremely high prices for your addiction, getting arrested, losing your job and on and on.
If the number of addicts was doubled, but the risk to the addict was halved, the equation would balance out and we wouldn’t give billions of dollars to criminals and terrorists.
I agree Brandon. You should check out some of my posts on legalization, decriminalization, etc. I think research is certainly needed and will tell us a lot.