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Success and Failure in the US-Mexico War on Drugs Essay

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Illegal narcotic drugs represent a $60 billion market in the U.S., and this year alone the State and Federal governments will each spend roughly $20 billion in attempting to stifle this market. The amount of money involved in the drug trade, substantially inflated due to prohibition, makes both systemic corruption and violence inevitable. The illegal drug trade is a sophisticated international network, and while no nation’s involvement is limited to one economic function, one relationship is crystal clear: Mexico serves as a high-volume channel of drugs into the United States, and drug traffickers will go to great lengths to continue serving the American consumers as long as their demand exists. A 1997 article stated that narcotics funnel as much as $30 billion into the Mexican economy each year, “more than the country’s top two legitimate exports combined.”[1]

Despite decades of attempts to control this illegal activity, the public perception is that the United States’ war on drugs has failed to substantially reduce both the supply and demand of illegal drugs. Supply-side efforts have been plagued by conflicting political priorities and corruption in both American and Mexican administrations, while the costly anti-drug advertising campaigns and increased incarcerations of drug users have had only limited success in decreasing the demand for drugs. Furthermore, the inherent difficulty of international coordination in such an effort has hindered the success of the drug war. As James Finckenauer, Ph.D. of the National Institute of Justice states, “The complexity of the worldwide drug market and the vast resources available to narcotic producers and traffickers requires afflicted countries to collabor...


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...] “Healthy People 2000 Final Review.” Department of Health and Human Services,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Center for Health
Statistics. October, 2001.

[15] “News from the DEA.” Speech by Asa Hutchinson, September 16, 2002. Baylor
University.

[16] Community Epidemiology Work Group. “Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse: Advance
Report.” National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse.
December, 1999.

[17] www.drugsense.org

[18] “Gangster Cops,” a lecture by Joseph McNamara, Stanford University. Engineering
297, April 30, 2003.

[19] “Gangster Cops,” a lecture by Joseph McNamara, Stanford University. Engineering
297, April 30, 2003.

[20] “Vicente Fox on the Transition, NAFTA, Corruption, Drugs, the Economy...” Business
Week: July 17, 2000.


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