Most experts would agree that the best way to reverse the pattern of addiction in our nation is to do a better job of drug education and prevention. While there are some great programs available for people of all ages, many of them leave out the extended reach of the consequences caused by illegal drug use.
Many casual users, especially young adults like college students, are completely unaware of what they’re promoting when they occasionally use marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. Socially conscious and aware people understand that the drug trade fuels violence, both in our country and others, especially Mexico. However, few make the link that their joint or bump is funding cartels that are committing murder daily on both sides of the border.
About 90 percent of the cocaine abused in the United States reportedly traveled through Mexico before it was packaged and sold to people around the country. In order to get the cocaine from Mexico and into the U.S., cartels employ many different methods, but one outcome has always been the destruction they leave in their wake.
Despite what many believe, many Mexicans and residents in other South American countries that are affected by the cartels and drug routes, do not want anything to do with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, they often have little choice but to get involved, or they will become subjected to the violence. The drug cartels often force people to smuggle drugs into the U.S. by kidnapping them, threatening their families or by charging such extreme tolls on common routes into the U.S. that people have no choice but to agree to smuggle in drugs.
The violence that is associated with cartels is nothing new, but it continues to be terrifying and used as a method to frighten and manipulate. Those that speak out against the cartels or refuse to join or will not help smuggle drugs into the U.S. are in real danger of physical retaliation and likely death. Families of those that resist the cartels are also in danger – many are killed when a loved one will not comply with the cartels. These drug lords have also targeted local media and frightened them into staying away from reporting their activities.
The only reason why this violence and torture is allowed to exist is because the demand for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are so strong in the United States. Our country consumes a large portion of the illegal drugs in the world, despite having a relatively small population in comparison to other major nations.
While some say the answer is to simply legalize the drugs, they’re also being naive and irresponsible, as a nation full of drug users means increased violence, crime, accidents and injuries here as well. The answer, then, really does seem to come around to more effective drug education and prevention practices to reduce the demand, but it goes well beyond that. We must work to solve societal problems that generate the desire in individuals to seek out relief through these chemicals.