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The War on Mexican Drug Cartels: Evolution, Effects, and Solutions

Jun 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jun 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

The War on Drugs refers to a movement in the United States, which campaigns for the prohibition of drugs having a purpose of bringing to an end the trade of illegal drug. It comprises a diverse drug policy initiated by the United Nations and the U.S. government that discourages psychoactive drugs manufacture, circulation, and consumption such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine (Bonner 36). Americans spend huge dollars yearly in the fight against drug use. However, smuggling continues for about 40 years (Chabat 135). Several drug-related organizations emerge in Mexico with an incline in demand for drugs. The war on drugs emphasizes on the prevention of drugs use, rather than fighting drug-related crime. This paper seeks to depict the evolution of the war on drugs and Mexican drugs cartels, its effects and probable solutions.


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Chabat (142) stated that the Act of 1914 on Harrison Narcotics Tax was the first law restricting the consumption and distribution of prohibited drugs. The U.S. later passed an amendment that illegalized drug trade, transportation, and production of alcohol, followed by National Prohibition Act (Grayson 148). Several policies regarding drug use came up to destroy drug industries. The war on drugs began in the early 1970s during the reign of President Richard Nixon (Bonner 40). He implemented the movement alongside his message publication on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control. The association controlled drugs and substances grounded on their medical consumption and addiction possibility. His government dedicated more national funds to the inhibition of new fanatics and the rehabilitation process of the addicts.

The involvement of the U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts started during the time of President George Bush, which stimulated the establishment of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) (Bonner 40). However, in 2011 the Global Commission on Drug Policy, comprising the U.S. Surgeon General and the projecting international politicians, declared the failure of the War on drugs (Grayson 158). The government of the United States partakes drug policies as a “third-way” approach to drug control (Martin 50). The basis of the methodology is on the outcome of research done by world’s special scholars on the disease of substance abuse. The success policy measurement does not depend on the statistics on the drug-related arrests or development of new prisons.

Today, the Drug Policy Alliance Statistics estimates that the U.S. spends approximately fifty billion dollars yearly on the war on drugs. The demand for drugs increases anonymously with Mexican drug smugglers coming up with several groups (Grayson 160). The international trade of substances has a great impact on a global scale. It involves drug trafficking, murder, and corruption that triggers the daily war on drugs. Drugs present various aspects of war from Mexico and Latin Americans, which affects the U.S. and others countries’ policy that take part in the battle against illegal substances (Bonner 42). The policies meet challenges in differentiating between war and international relations problems related to the drug war in Latin American.

The U.S. state and federal government placed a lot of effort on inducing punishment to any individual associated with the illegal drug business. It enforced laws and regulations that prohibited the use, production, and supply of certain drugs by the drug cartels. The administration spends a huge amount of resources on imposing law on drugs compared to those expended on prevention and treatment (Martin 60). Drug Court Program in prisons points out the substances abuse criminals, group them in the authoritarian courtyard watching public observation and offer them long-term management services (Grayson 168). However, illegalizing the substances in the drug war encourages black markets, which makes a high profit. The dispensing of National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) supported programs designed to expand treatment delivery and improved the results of various options (Chabat 140).

The results of a research by RAND Corporation funded by the security department of the U.S. indicated that application of force to the prohibition of drugs trafficking has minimal impact on the drug trade (Martin 45). It raises the cocaine profits for drug manufacturers. The report stated that a shift from federal rules to treatment is inexpensive to fight drug use. The World Forum against Drugs confirmed that a stable strategy of drugs abuse stoppage, treatment, research, supply reduction, education, and law enforcement offer an effective ground to reduce substances and drug abuse (Grayson 148). The U.S. government on pursuing the reduction of illicit substances shifted from enforcement of the law to harm decrease, prevention, and treatment of drug addicts. The priority in the war on drugs is government declaration on demand reduction.

The drug lobbies and the war on drug continue to exist because of the failures of the social service, education, and the justice systems. There is need to focus on the reduction in the cost of illicit drugs as well as the demand. According to Grayson (150), the federal government concentrates on substances prohibition instead of its decline among the Latin Americans. For instance, the U.S. government got into drug trafficking dealings with Sinaloa, Mexican drug cartel, hence permitting the lobbies to traffic huge dollars of drugs in exchange for information on its energetic associations. These affairs began nearly ten years ago making it a challenge to diminish drug businesses (Martin 65). The criminal justice system needs to provide effective treatment and incentives for drugs addicts. Provision of parental guidance and elementary education on substances abuse and preventive measures can help reduce chances of drug use among youths.

The war on drugs has both negative and positive impacts on the international development and security. It contributes to conflicts and violence since the control of the illegal market is under the merciless unlawful entrepreneurs. Cartels equip private militaries with weapons that guard their business security and expansion (Chabat 148).They can use the profits obtained from the illegal drugs sales to fund international and domestic terror groups. The drug war promotes corruption in institutions and at individual levels. The flowing money in the illegitimate market poses threats to the individual who are unwilling to accept bribery (Martin 70). Their major targeted areas are the weak government and institutions with inadequate resources. Corruption decreases the net salary of the less fortune and weakens related programs such as healthcare services and education.

The existence of drug cartels increases economic and opportunity cost with the absence of revenue collection and separation from authentic financial and social activities of drug manufacture. The black market causes a shift of capital and labor, and destabilize enduring economic progression and development, interfering with the competitive level of authorized businesses. Cartels criminalize poverty as drug crop farmers get minimal income (Grayson 148). Therefore, drug production and trafficking thrive where government control, military, and law enforcement is negligible. Devastation, deforestation and pollution cost of the war on drugs in ecologically delicate environments, which results from the inflight spray of chemicals of crops.

The war on drugs causes several health related dangers that affect human development such as increased vulnerability. Illegal consumption of drugs promotes risky behavior including sharing of needles hence increases cases of sexually transmitted infections among users. The rise in epidemics of HIV and hepatitis B and C is common with the illicit drug users (Bonner 47). Increase number of drug criminals encourages discrimination and human rights violation in criminal justice systems. The practice of inappropriate forms of punishments causes overcrowding in prisons, related human rights, and health hazards (Grayson 170)

The benefits associated with the war on drugs goes to criminals in control of the illicit businesses and those who utilize if for political reasons and military intervention. Drug production and distribution in restricted areas provides some sources of income to the criminal dealers. The unauthorized benefits get into the national economy when spent in legal markets. However, the cost of the war on drugs and fighting drug cartels outweigh the benefits. The expectation that federal policies would assist in the reduction of drug trafficking in the U.S. initiated the declaration of the war on drugs campaign (Martin 52). The war never stopped but continued to pose huge costs on resources such as money, lives, and human well-being. The legality of the war on drugs faces some challenges such as questions on the power of prohibition, prosecution inequality, and the use of substances in religions.

Work cited:

Bonner, R. C. “The New Cocaine Cowboys: How to Defeat Mexico’s Drug Cartels”. Foreign Affairs 89.4 (2010): 35–47.

Chabat, J. “Mexico’s War on Drugs: No Margin for Maneuver”. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 582 (2002): 134–148.

Grayson, Kyle. “Discourse, Identity, and the U.S. ʹwar on Drugsʹ”. Critical Reflections on Transnational Organized Crime, Money Laundering, and Corruption. University of Toronto Press, 2003. 145–170.

Martin, W. C. “Cartels, Corruption, Carnage, and Cooperation”. A War That Can’t Be Won: By national Perspectives on the War on Drugs. University of Arizona Press, 2013. 33–64.

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