The War on Drugs: A ‘Duh’ Update

Suzi Riot

This isn’t really a full post in my drug policy series, but I had to post this as a perfect example of the principles that I’ve described in my previous posts. From McClatchy:

Mexican drug gangs now control the US ‘meth’ market

A U.S. crackdown on domestic methamphetamine labs has created opportunities for Mexican drug cartels and their “superlabs” to fill the void.

Law enforcement agencies now consider “meth” produced in Mexico to be the greatest drug menace in the Western United States and a growing concern across the southeast and mid-Atlantic states, according to a Department of Justice report released this year.

Mexican drug gangs now produce 80 percent of the methamphetamine consumed in the United States, and Mexican officials say the Mexican manufacturers have become adept at meeting the shifting demands of U.S. addicts. (Read the full story here.)

Surprise, surprise. Interdiction practices have resulted in… (check your notes, class)… that’s correct! REPLACEMENT. Meth is an insidious, destructive drug. However, that fact is irrelevant in developing policies and practices for dealing with the meth problem or any other illicit market. Supply side eradication has only short-term results and product and distribution are quickly replaced. Not only does the flow of drugs remain steady and their sale profitable, but collateral harm increases. Home meth labs are certainly dangerous to individuals, families, and communities. Yet the activities of the Mexican drug gangs result in a far greater level – spread throughout both the US and Mexico – of collateral harm. Do you think this story might be related?

Addiction is a social problem and a health issue that cannot be solved through criminal justice or enforcement methods. The creation of illicit markets has done nothing to reduce introduction or recidivism rates of drug abuse. I don’t think that legalizing all drugs is the answer, but adopting more rational policies and practices, such as those of the Netherlands, might be more successful in helping addicts and reducing harm.


~ by Suzi Riot on April 30, 2008.

15 Responses to “The War on Drugs: A ‘Duh’ Update”

  1. Addiction is never, ever, a legal issue — it is a health issue.

    Now, dulling the everyday pain of being part of this society, that’s a whole other post.



  2. How long before we hear “Illegal aliens are bringing meth across the border!”

  3. Remember the Gambino mob guy, Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano?

    While in the witness protection program he started up a very lucrative ecstasy ring in Arizona. I think this article is interesting in the context of your series of posts and follow-ups, which are excellent by the way. They keep me thinkin’ … which is good thing. In this case at least.

  4. Tengrain: Do they make a drug for that?

    DED: Oh, that claim has already been made by more than one Republican politician looking for a scapegoat.

    Anita: Thank for that great link! Fascinating story – three months for murder and 20 years for selling drugs. This time Sammy the Bull just didn’t have anything the prosecutors wanted. Now THAT says volumes about our fucked up system of (in)justice in this country. I’m glad you’re liking the posts!

  5. What can I say but that I agree with you completely. You’re doing an excellent job with this series.

  6. Saint Death? How quaint.

  7. Congrats on a very fine series of articles. The drug war is a lie, and you’ve exposed it as such in just about every way possible.

  8. unfortunetly USA’s drug policy is the template for Ireland and politicians sell the same tired and failed anti drug policies here as there. It is a social disease and a mirror for whats wrong in our world today.

  9. I grew up in the Bay area in the 80’s meth started to take over cocaine n demand. the Police agencies admitted we can’t stop this we have lost this ‘war’.
    The hell’s angels produced most of it at the time. The labs in mexico allowed the makers to produce huge quantities opposed to just a couple of bathtub labs in multiple locations.
    It was called poor man’s coke and every truck driver and waiter in the east bay could hook you up.

  10. It’s as if politicians and talking hairpieces picked up a copy of ‘Discipline and punish’ and never bothered to open the damn thing up.

    “That’s what they need, punishment, heh, heh.”

    We are the immature, not-even-close-to-urbane adolescent of the industrialized world.

  11. My suggestion for meth users, meth labs operators, and wingnuts in general is, mark off a section of this country, preferably in the South/Midwest, and move them there.

    Wait…someone already did that didn’t they?

    Never mind.

  12. Meth is a huge problem where I grew up down in Hell, MO. It’s been hitting rather close to home, as I hear about more and more peops I went to high school with succumbing. I managed to talk to one person about it, and he’s afraid to seek help because of the war on drug users. We can’t scare these people away like that, or nothing will ever change. And you’re right about this being a terribly insidious drug. It will only get worse if we don’t do something different.

  13. If I think too much about the drug problem, I will have to start taking something strong to deal with my anger and my frustration.

    There is a reason that things do not change.

  14. suzi keep this going
    these are great and educational posts

    call me insane
    but nothing will ever stop the allure of drugs — after meth it will be something else

    with so many people facing such hopelessness — drugs are the only escape many see…..

  15. I am sorry I did not comment on this early. Illicit drugs and the way America deals with them has been a concern for a long time. //rational policies and practices// Asking America to be rational in both policies and practices may be too much to ask. That rational people like yourself are willing to research and post dispassionately is so gratifying. Do continue.

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