The Drug Tradea wiki by Bruce Brophy

Drugs for Guns: How the Afghan Heroin trade is fueling Taliban insurgency - The Independent, April 29, 2008
  • This article deals with how heroin from Afghanistan funds the fighting against the British forces in the country. The article states that smugglers admit to trading weapons in exchange for heroin which is grown and refined inside the country. NATO claims that the Taliban get 40% to 60% of their income from the trade of heroin, but smugglers claim otherwise, they say the number is higher. The other interesting point of the article is that the smugglers claim their “bosses” are cabinet level officials in the government and that they are therefore “untouchable.”

Drug violence in Mexico: Can the army out-gun the drug lords? - The Economist, May 15, 2008
  • This article is about the response the Mexican police and army are getting in return for the offensive against the drug trade and cartels. On May 8, 2009 Mexico’s acting chief of police was shot outside his home. The drug cartels and gangs have also successful killed many more like the administrative head of the Esado Mayor (which is a military body in charge of protecting Mexico’s president) and a top official in Mexico City’s police force. The president who feels he cannot rely on police (since a federal police officer was linked to the murder on May 8 and to the murder of the head of federal police’s organized crime division) sent the army into many of Mexico’s most violent areas. During this period prices for drugs increased dramatically, a 73% jump was seen in methamphetamine prices and a 44% jump for cocaine prices.

U.S. accuses Venezuela of negligence in Drug War - Reuters, August 27, 2008
  • Hugo Chávez ceased relations with the United States’s Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, and it has been called out by America’s White House drug czar, John Walters for not doing enough to stop drug smugglers. Cocaine leaving Venzuela has increased dramatically after that period with “almost no arrests.” Hugo Chavez has given signals that he would resume relations with the D.E.A. after George W. Bush left office in 2009.

Mexico’s War on Drugs: a War on the Economy? - Global Envision, September 8, 2008
  • This article deals with the fact that the drug trade in Mexico makes up a large part of their economy. The article also mentions that violence has increased dramatically with the crack down of the drug trade, the death toll stands at an estimated 4,000 (when the article was written). The other point the article brings up is that residents do not drug trafficking to end.

Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense - TIME, April 2, 2009
  • This article is about Marijuana laws are damaging and how legalizing the substance could create much more income for states well relieving some of the costs of enforcing the laws. Drug laws only regarding Marijuana are extremely expensive to enforce. It costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $68 billion on corrections and $150 billion on policing and court costs. Marijuana is estimated to bring in $1.4 billion for California if the drug was legalized. The new industry would also create many jobs in the forms of agriculture, packaging and advertising.

Drug War Lacks A Plan - Baltimore Sun, November 11, 2009
  • This article points out that the U.S. not does have a clear and precise method for limiting the trafficking routes and the demand for drugs itself. The reason the article states is that the Office of National Drug Control Policy does not have the power to coordinate with other agencies and organizations. The article is biased towards the drug war and it clearly obvious by the authors use of words such as “those along our nation's border may soon be facing a tsunami of violence that we may not be able to handle.”

New U.S. Drug Strategy Still Heavy On Enforcement - Global Issues, May 11, 2010
  • In this article President Obama is calling for a strategy that will work by “strengthening law enforcement” and “working collaboratively with our global partners” in hopes they can reduce the damage and violence the drug war has caused. Critics of the drug war are pointing out that the budget proposal includes “much more money for overseas and domestic enforcement” than it does for limiting the demand that exist for drugs. They also point out that they are also overlooking the costs that are involved in imprisoning the criminals.

Panama tribe in drug dilemma - Al Jazeera, December 11, 2010
  • This short video is about a tribe in the Kuna Yala Islands of Panama, where a drug trafficking route has caused the Kuna tribe a series of issues. The tribe is experiencing a problem with youth that no longer wants to work, the prices increases and construction has soared. The islands traditional ways have been changed due to the drug trafficking in the region.

Central America’s Woes: The drug hits Central America - The Economist, April 14, 2011
  • The article is about how being offensive and trying to limit the drug trade is only moving it further underground, causing more violence and causing drug cartels to fight back. When the United States had shut down the Caribbean cocaine route it moved the trade into Mexico. Now the offensive against the Mexican cartels is forcing the trade into Central America where nations are even weaker and more incompetent to limit the drug trade. This new location is proving to be even more troublesome than Mexico, because these countries are often where American’s seek to go when they are retired, but the surge in violence is limiting tourism. These countries are even worse off due to the fact that most of these countries lack the ability to provide basic needs such as an education, health care, and transportations systems. Therefore many of these Central American countries are seeking security from private corporations.

Drugged Out - TIME, May 30, 2011
  • This article is about a small village inside Laos that has been experiencing the affects of the drug trade since Thailand’s government killed thousands and disrupted the flow of drugs inside the country. Phiyer is a remote village that lies in the northern part of Laos. Phiyer shares it boarders with Burma and there the drug producers have set up factories that produce millions of tablets of methamphetamine (Its Thai name is yaba which translates into crazy medicine) which is then smuggled into northern Laos and then into China, Thailand, Vietnam and other Asian countries. Although the drug trade in these countries is prominent the drug trade has taken a hit due to a rise of newer sources of the substance. Methamphetamine is the drug of choice to the drug producers due to the fact that it is cheap and easy to produce therefore methamphetamine labs in Burma are able to produce huge amounts of the substance. Despite the fact that drug trade in the region has decreased the country is seeing a rise in the amount of foreign drugs entering the country. This is partly due to the border police being underfunded and left with having to patrol the Mekong River. The article also mentions that experts disagree on whether drug seizures represent better law enforcement or increased drug production, another point to be made is that Burma has seized 24 million methamphetamine tablets in 2009, but in the past decade they have only discovered 39 facilities that manufacture the drug.

Underground Website Lets you Buy Any Drug Imaginable - WIRED, June 1, 2011
  • This article deals with a website called “the Silk Road” which allows people to buy drugs like marijuana, ecstasy or “hardcore drugs” like heroin which are then shipped to their houses. The article is slightly biased since the author only quoted the Silk Road’s administrator and customers, this is obviously biased due to the fact that both would clearly have the same opinions on drug laws and politics.

U.S. can’t justify its drug war spending, report says - L.A. Times, June 9, 2011
  • This article is about how the U.S. has a difficult job trying to justify the extensive budget for the drug war when violence and cartels are continuing to thrive. The Senate has been critical of the efforts to limit the drug trade and find the Army’s expenses “hard to characterize” when $80,000 is spent on paintballs and replica M-16s. The article states that increased enforcement has only led to more violence and resulted in moving drug production further south. The article quotes Vanda Felbab-Brown for stating that, “the U.S. military and other government agencies should take the lead in training foreign armies and police in drug eradication and control.”

Why is the issue you have chosen a world issue?

  • The drug trade is a world issue, because the trade is an international industry that nets drug cartels, mafias and gangs of all kinds massive profits. The drug trade is also a huge burden for governments that spend billions trying to limit its affects. The trade of drugs funds various wars in many parts of the world, but the crackdown upon Mexico’s drug cartels have also seen violence spread not only within its own borders, but into other countries that were relatively peaceful before. The victims of the drug trade are the users who are addicted and rely on the substances that are illegal. This creates a large burden on governments. The drug trade is pest that persists to strain the worlds governments and their population. The drug trade takes hundreds of billions of dollars from the economy and wastes it by trying to win a battle it cannot. The money would be better suited towards fixing the cause of drug use.

How has the issue evolved over the time frame of your scrapbook?

  • The issue has seen some major events in the past four years. The offensive in Mexico in 2008 has had major affect on the drug trade both abroad and within its borders. The offensive in Mexico that was mean’t to limit the drug trade worked by disrupting the availability of cocaine and methamphetamine and the results can be seen in increased prices. It also had a major consequence though. The drug cartels responded to the increases pressure by assassinations, and murdering the innocent. Inner-gang violence also increased dramatically during the same period due. This offensive moved the production and trade into other and more weaker states in Central-America, which could be said to have made the Mexican offensive useless or counterproductive. The drug trade continues to flourish in these weaker states that cannot sustain a war on drugs and maintain a modern society. Therefore police forces in these areas tend to be corrupt, but these forces also lack the ability and training to curb the trades routes and take on the powerful cartels.

What sides are involved in the issue? What are their view points?

  • There are two major sides to this issue. The one is to continue the drug war, but increase the pressure on drug cartels. If the government agencies of the various countries involved cooperated in taking on the drug cartels and trafficking routes the pressure would be to much to withstand. The other viewpoint is that the drug trade is too complex and huge in scale to fully tackle. The governments involved need to legalize various drugs in order to curb the violence of the drug cartels. This way the governments are able to limit the trade with safe drug use which would limit the power of the drug cartels. It would also decrease the amount of spending needed for correctional facilities and courts.

How does the issue relate to other categories? Recognize 3 pieces of the interconnected web.

  • Social - The drug trade is supplying the demand that exists for the drug, but they are supplying an unhealthy addiction. Drug cartels meet this demand by using violence to gain power. It corrupts governments and destroys generations, therefore leaving them with little chance of growing and developing their countries. The cost involved in enforcing drug laws could be spent on health care, drug prevention, and social systems. This would therefore help prevent poverty and limit the demand for drugs.
  • Political - The political aspect of the drug trade as enormous consequences. Venezuela would do little to combat the drug trade within its borders simply due to the fact that George W. Bush was in office. This allowed the trade to of drugs to flourish in Venezuela for years due to inaction caused by diplomatic relations. Politicians are also afraid of supporting drug legalization due to the stigma that exists. If governments could openly talk the benefits of drug legalization without being attacked from opposing political parties more action could be taken toward limiting the costs of enforcing the ridiculously expensive drug laws.
  • Economic - The inaction could also be caused by the power the cartels have in Mexico and Latin-America. The drug trade in Mexico is believed to make up 44% of its economy and the number could be even higher in Latin-America where the drug trade has moved towards. This could have caused the lag in Venezuela’s action to limit the drug trade. Drug laws continue to drain money from the economies of developing nations and developed nations. The money could perhaps go toward aid-packages which would help develop countries and prevent the need for drugs.