|Mexican Drug Cartels and Their Areas of Influence (1)|
Americans who use drugs should take a moment to consider how their actions are impacting other nations. Per an NPR article, U.S. consumption of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines helps to buttress a violent drug trafficking network that stretches throughout Mexico and into adjacent countries. Americans' demand for these drugs might provide employment to some people in these areas but at a high cost, as the 50,000 drug-related deaths (in Mexico alone) testify. These murdered men and women are not the only casualties of this war. Their families are left without brothers, sisters, and parents. Additionally, it is likely that many times this number of individuals live in fear of the local drug cartels. Per MSNBC, as a result of the drug trade, "the country is one of the most dangerous to be a journalist, [sic] kidnapping and extortion are rife."
At the same time, U.S. state and federal politicians should remember that the decisions they make with regards to the nation's drug war have consequences for other countries. They should periodically assess whether or not the U.S. is winning this conflict. If, as the MSNBC article implies, the U.S. is not making any headway in curtailing drug use among its citizens, politicians should either dedicate more money to enforcement efforts or discuss potentially legalizing (and strictly controlling the use of) some drugs. Either way, Americans should not settle for the status quo if it is not producing results; they owe that much to their brothers and sisters who are dying as a result of the drug cartel wars in Mexico and in other Latin American countries.
Americans are partly to blame for the violence in Mexico that has claimed the lives of approximately 50,000 people since 2006. They owe it to the people in Mexico as well as to themselves to work harder to curtail drug use in the U.S. by whatever means is most feasible.
1. Creator: U.S. Congress, Committee on Foreign Relations
Title/Description: The Merida Initiative, a U.S. Counter-Narcotics Assistance to Mexico.
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - U.S. government document (click on the title to see the
artwork, credits, and permissions).
-- Anthony Hopper
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