Drug Czar: U.S. Drug Demand Feeding Mexican Violence
Monday, May 26, 2008
When Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, he made fighting drug cartels his top priority. He's sent more than 20,000 soldiers to hot spots around Mexico, including hundreds to Tijuana. Murders and kidnappings have surged in the border city.
John Walters directs the U.S. Office of National Drug Policy. He says Mexico's drug cartels are fighting back. And the violence is a cancer U.S. drug users have helped grow.
Walters: Those dollars are paying the assassins. Our goal is to make the period of violence as short as possible by helping on our side, cut off the resources, the money, the guns, obviously reducing the drug use that is the funder of these assassins.Critics have assailed Walters for failing to focus on U.S. drug demand during the last eight years.
Since 2002, the federal budget to reduce demand has grown by just three percent. Money towards prevention has dipped 25 percent. The number of drug users and addicts has remained the same.
Amy Isackson, KPBS News.