Drug addiction in mexico: severed heads on the beach

Substance abuse worsens as drug war heats up“Mexico is no longer just a transit country for drugs bound for the United States. It is a country of drug users as well,” James C. McKinley Jr. concludes in an October 3 article for The New York Times (reg. required). According to the Commander of Police in Zamaro, “Ten or 15 years ago we didn’t even see powdered cocaine, just marijuana. Then about three years ago we started to see a lot of signs of ice, crack and heroin.”Observers note that alarm over drug trafficking has reached new heights as more and more dealers shift their business south toward the beach resort areas of Acapulco and Veracruz. Mutilated bodies and severed heads are sometimes left on the beaches for the television crews, Reuters reported. There have been more than 2,000 execution-style killings so far this year, a new record for drug-related violence in Mexico.The trend so alarmed new Mexican president Felipe Calderon that he demanded a drug testing program in 8,000 Mexican high schools. After the recent seizure of 12 tons of cocaine in a Tampico warehouse, president Calderon announced that the U.S. had pledged $1.5 billion in additional anti-drug aid to Mexico, some of which will go toward the purchase of high-tech electronic surveillance and detection equipment. So far this year, the Mexican government has sent 24,000 troops to northeastern Mexico in an attempt to disrupt the traffickers.Meanwhile, The New York Times article reported that in the town of Zamora, “Private drug rehabilitation centers have sprouted up in nearly every poor neighborhood, a cottage industry of sorts. Most of them are tiny, squalid houses where addicts are locked up for three months and given a short course on the 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.” Families pay $100 to place relatives in these homes, where dozens of addicts share a single toilet, the doors are locked at all times, and the windows are covered with welded sheet metal.Mexico currently receives only about $40 million a year from the U.S. government for the fight against cross-border drug traffic. General Javier del Real Magallanes, head of the army’s drug operations in northeastern Mexico, claimed that the arms race against drug cartels has been fueled by U.S. arms dealers providing drug dealers with everything from handguns to rocket-propelled grenade launchers. “These arms aren’t from Mexico, they’re from the other side,” the general told Reuters.As is typical in such cases, both Mexican officials and U.S. border security consultants call for greater enforcement efforts, leading to a spiraling cycle of violence and addiction in which the United States is the arms suppliers for both sides of the conflict. For Mexican citizens, the escalating drug war south of the border means that, while street prices of cocaine and heroin in the United States may temporarily decline, exactly the opposite occurs in Mexico: a steadily growing, ever cheaper supply of narcotics for the locals, as more and more drugs remain in Mexico rather than being shipping to the U.S.Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora told the Dallas Morning News that “The U.S. law is too flexible, too permissive when it comes to gun possession, and unfortunately many of those guns, particularly high-power assault weapons, too often end up in the hands of ruthless drug cartels.”For their part, regional Drug Enforcement Officials (DEA) are supportive but skeptical. “Until you reduce U.S. demand for drugs, and weed out the immense corruption among Mexico’s law enforcement, pouring more U.S. money into Mexico won’t necessarily solve the problem,” said a former head of the DEA office in Dallas. (Source: Addiction Inbox)

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