Drug use kills people, tens of thousands of them. Drug abuse obviously kills Americans, but the people I’m referring to here are not Americans, they are our neighbors to the south. When Americans buy and use drugs, they not only hurt themselves, they create deadly chaos in Mexico.
Newspaper tallies, estimates by academics and testimony by U.S. anti-narcotics officials put the death toll somewhere between 45,000 and 60,000 from 2006 to 2011, according to The Washington Post.
Now, outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderón says ending the drug trade is “impossible.” It’s up to the United States to either reduce its levels of drug use or use “market mechanisms” to reduce the flow of drug money to Mexico, a new Poststory reports.
When Calderón took office in 2006, he ordered a crackdown on the drug trade. He now sees it as an impossible task. He has put the responsibility on those of us in the United States. We at least hold a big share of the responsibility.
I have known some good, caring people who smoke marijuana. I don’t think any of them saw themselves as complicit in the deadly violence in Mexico. The reality seems to be otherwise.
There are no easy answers to this problem. Many Americans apparently enjoy using illegal drugs and see little difference between marijuana and alcohol. Many other Americans are addicted to cocaine, meth and other hard drugs. The first group will not want to stop; the second group will not be able to stop without help.
Some see part of the answer as being legalization of marijuana, and Colorado and Washington already have moved to make that happen.
The purpose of this blog post is not to explore the nuances of this issue. The purpose is to connect we Americans with the carnage in Mexico. People are dying because of American drug use.