Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Addiction in Mexico and the War on Drugs

In a recent "Wealth of Nations" blog post on the Newsweek website, the issue of addiction in Mexico has been brought to light. With so much focus on the American drug problem- and don't get me wrong, it's a big one- we sometimes lose sight that other countries are battling the same demons. With our miserably-failing "War on Drugs," we've created a mess here and abroad, but at least we have some good private resources available for people seeking help. Walter Cronkite wrote, in 2006, about the failing war on drugs and included this quote: "People who do genuinely have a problem with drugs, meanwhile, are being imprisoned when what they really need is treatment." To that, Mr. Cronkite, I say thank you. Thank you for stating the obvious, and for being a trusted voice to say it.

And I'm off on a tangent. Meanwhile, the article about drug use in Mexico had some interesting insights and facts. An estimated 4.5 million Mexicans now use drugs, up some thirty percent in the last five years, and the number of actual addicts is up 100% since 2002. These are astounding figures. We often view Mexico as the place where drugs come from, a highway from South American drug production to American drug consumption, but how often do we see the direct effect of addiction on that country? Mexico is also in the process of decriminalizing possession, and that could have considerable effects on the addicted population. This could be a true epidemic should they not develop more than the 100 treatment centers they have operating within their borders. More will be revealed, that's for sure.

I encourage everyone to check out the Drug Policy Alliance, a groundswell working to end the war on drugs and create a better plan to battle addiction in this country.

Here's a great video on crystal meth use in Mexico City:

Here's something funny.

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