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U.S. Demand For Drugs Fueling Violence In Mexico

Audio

Aired 5/16/11

What role does the United States play in the drug violence that's plagued Mexico in recent years? We speak to Fronteras journalists Peter O'Dowd and Jose Luis Jimenez about their two week-long series "The Drug War at Home."

The Fronteras Changing America Desk will begin its two weeklong "Drug War at Home" series today.
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Above: The Fronteras Changing America Desk will begin its two weeklong "Drug War at Home" series today.

Innocent children are at risk of being affected by the drug violence in Mexican border cities like Tijuana.
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Above: Innocent children are at risk of being affected by the drug violence in Mexican border cities like Tijuana.

How has the drug violence in Mexico affected your life? We want to hear your story. At the end of this series, we'll put together an overview of the best stories.

What role does the United States play in the drug violence that's plagued Mexico in recent years? We speak to Fronteras journalists Peter O'Dowd and Jose Luis Jimenez about their two week-long series "The Drug War at Home."

Guests

Peter O'Dowd, News Director for KJZZ Radio in Phoenix and the Fronteras: Changing America Desk

Jose Luis Jimenez, Social Media Editor for the Fronteras Desk and KPBS

Comments

Avatar for user 'heteromeles'

heteromeles | May 16, 2011 at 9:33 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't do drugs, but I think there's a big reason to legalize drugs: regulation decreases societal costs. After all, much of the cost and misery associated with drug smuggling results from the lack of legal infrastructure.

--A drug dealer can't sue over breach of contract. They have to resort to violence.
--A drug user can easily get poisoned by drugs, whether it's through pesticides in marijuana or adulterants in their meth or coke. The products aren't standardized, so the consequences of product tampering end up in emergency rooms, and victims can't sue, they can only resort to violence for reparation.

--The cost of drug treatments is borne by the public, while the cost of things like smoking cessation are in part borne by the tobacco industry.

--Marijuana growers can't grow openly, so instead they destroy the back country, and make it dangerous for those of us who like to hike. I can't go in parts of the San Bernardino National Forest, Organ Pipe National Monument, or other areas without carrying a gun.

Therefore, even though I don't use drugs, I'd much rather see them legalized, taxed, and heavily regulated. It's been done with weapons, alcohol, and cigarettes, and it's high time we did it with drugs too.

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Avatar for user 'litsem'

litsem | May 16, 2011 at 9:41 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Learn from history. Guilting people who use drugs won't stop them. Society in America does not like to help those who are likely to use drugs and people will always use drugs whether it is legal (meds/alcohol/tobacco) or illegal. Violence will persist so long as drugs are illigal. Let's learn from history (prohibition) as the only thing to stop violence is to decriminalize this sad activity and let's learn from success stories (Amsterdam and other countries with legal drugs) which found that by decriminalizing was the only way to drop the violence and help those who seek drugs.

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Avatar for user 'GeraldFnord'

GeraldFnord | May 16, 2011 at 11:27 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Not to belabour the points above, but I buy powerful drugs---caffeine and sucrose---several times a week, and I don't think that any murders were involved.

In addition to the excellent points made above, though perhaps considered as a corollary of the 'poisoned' paragraph, note that prohibition encourages stronger and stronger products---and in the case of marijuana, at least, severely distorted versions. (We spent several millenia breeding marijuana to be a reasonable thing to eat and get high or medically better thereby, a few centuries' time modifying that basic stock for smoking, and now a couple of decades and extreme, modern, techniques taking the older cannabinoid profile and ruining it...and as a conservative, this offends me.)

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | May 17, 2011 at 12:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Do you really believe there isn't a demand for drugs in Mexico? The only reason we know it's high in the U.S. is because of our freedom of the press. They don't have freedom as we know it in Mexico. Their press is intimidated not only by the drug cartel, but the government and police. They are forced to keep quiet about such subjects because if it was learned their drug problem is equivalent to ours they'd have nothing to accuse us of.

On the one hand, I do believe our gunmakers hide behind the 2nd Ammendment to make and sell guns to the drug cartel which fuels the drug war. That is plain wrong and no excuse that our government and judges (that would be the Supreme Court) cannot define what exactly our founding fathers meant when they created the Constitution. For that we should be ashamed.

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Avatar for user 'WonderProfessor'

WonderProfessor | May 17, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

How did the First Prohibition way back in the early part of the 20th Century turn out? Hmmm, not so good, huh? And alcohol is many times more dangerous than marijuana. It is time to stop the trillion-dollar charade. Legalize it!

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