Thursday, September 16, 2010

End drug use and end the violence in Mexico

The drug violence in Mexico can be stopped if we focus on the problem not the symptom.

The United States is arguably the biggest consumer of illicit drugs in the world. Exporters of anything, including drugs, would not have a market if it wasn’t for people buying their products. Because there is such a big market here in the United States for drugs, competing cartels are killing each other along with innocent by standers in an effort to dominating the lucrative market. This violence will soon spill over across the border. We will only have ourselves to blame.

It isn’t just Mexico, it is also in Afghanistan. The history of Afghanistan over the last 100 years is filled with drugs. The farmers in the country could not make enough money by raising food crops. They turned to poppies, the plant that heroin is produced from, because the profit is so enormously high. The Taliban, looking for easy income to fuel their war against the world, took control of the distribution.

Where does the money go? To purchase weapons that enable groups in both countries and others around the world, to continue their violence.

What are we doing about it? A lot of nothing. The war on drugs is a failure in this country. We fiddle around the edges treating symptoms and irrelevant issues while drug use continues to grow out of control. Nationally, the debate has been side tracked by focusing on illegal immigrants that were here before and will be here after the war is “won”. (The war will never be won. No politician will be able to declare victory or even an end to conflict. The community must be for ever vigilant about drug abuse.) Politicians tell us of beheadings in the southwest desert from the drug traffic, yet, no evidence of a beheading from the drug traffic can be found.

Here in Oakland County it is worse. Michael Bouchard, a normally very able public servant, and his sheriff department raided drug dens around the county arresting pushers and abusers. Little or none of the marijuana that was seized came from a foreign source. The abusers were people that have a demonstrated need for the drug to ease the pain or discomfort of their illness. (Don’t be naive you say, there are those that are using it for recreation. I am not. I am aware of that. But, the drug is legal in the state and that isn’t where the problem is.)

Resources where diverted from the real drug problem at the same time the sheriff department is cutting an already thin budget. Legislatively, there are lots of politicians now that will be planning adjustments in the current litany of laws to define a problem that is small compared to the abuse of other drugs.

There are plenty of laws to control this problem. Law enforcement agencies need to have enough money to investigate and prosecute drug offenses. Drug courts need to both deal harshly with the “pushers” at the same time they punish and treat the abuser.

The loss of life in Afghanistan of our own young men and women is high. The damage to our foreign policy from this war is punishing. The war will soon be coming to a country even closer, Mexico, if we don’t get our drug problem under control.

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