Since the beginning of the “War on Drugs” and until it ends, if it will ever end, many will ask the question: are U.S. drug users the ones to blame for the fueling of Mexico’s violence? In a report commentated by Peter O’Dowd of Marketplace Public Radio, on June 15, 2011, he shares the accounts of different individuals from very unique backgrounds from a drug screening facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on their views of U.S. drug users in direct relation to the violence in Mexico.
A statistic indicated in the expose stated that according to a study done by the World Health Origination, out of 17 countries surveyed, the United States use drugs such as marijuana and cocaine more often than any other country in the study.
From this assessment, we hear from O’Dowd’s first encounter, Barbara Zugor, the director of the drug screening center. She believes that “there will probably be drugs and drug abuse in this country” for all time if we can’t figure out why is it that Americans have the need to abuse drugs. Her perspective seems just as they affirm in the report, “philosophical,” more worried on the why (is this an issue), the how (can we better the issue), and the what (will happen if this issue never resolves itself).
His second interviewee, is not named because he is a drug dealer. From this guy’s account, we recognize that drug dealers are foolish yes, but brainless, not at all, for a couple reasons. They know there is a lot of demand for their product so they make quick cash, however they also the dangers and the repercussions of what they’re doing plain and simple. This drug dealer himself said, “I think that Mexicans are getting a bad rap. And while a lot of the stuff is coming across the border, it’s our demand that’s pushing it here. It’s like stop the demand, you’ll stop the flow.” His perception is very cut and dry; he’s not worried about the philosophy of it all.
His last interview is with a Phoenix drug user, remaining nameless as well. Her case is a special one since she began smoking pot after she was diagnosed with cancer and the Arizona medical marijuana law had changed. She now purchases it illegally since she does not have the proper/legal authorization to smoke it. When providing her thoughts on the matter she said, “One of the guilt parts that I have over using the marijuana is what’s going on in Mexico. I don’t want to feel that what I’m having to do for my health is hurting somebody else.” Her perception is that of guilt, as a contributing contender to the whole mess that’s going on, she feels she is a small piece of the problem; which in reality, she absolutely is.
The last line of the report that still blows my mind no matter how many times or how many different way I may hear it, says, “All those little drug sales, all over America, add up to as much as $39 billion each year that heads south across the border.” That is remarkable.
So from these three different stances on the subject, one has to think which side of the perception spectrum are they on. Do you want to think more philosophically about the topic and see how you can help better the problem? Do you want to be the guy that knows the facts cut and dry but still not care about the situation? Or do you want to have that guilty conscience, knowing what you’re doing is negatively affecting the nation in which you live, along with those nations of other innocent people?
Audio of article: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/www_publicradio/tools/media_player/popup.php?name=marketplace/pm/2011/06/15/marketplace_cast1_20110615_64&starttime=00:22:09.0&endtime=00:26:33.0