From the New York Times article
, "Numbers Tell of Failure in
Drug War the War on Peaceful Americans Who Voluntary Choose to Use Intoxicants Not Currently Approved of By U.S. Politicians and Government Officials
"When policy makers in Washington worry about Mexico
these days, they think in terms of a handful of
numbers: Mexico’s 19,500 hectares devoted to poppy cultivation for heroin;
its 17,500 hectares growing cannabis; the 95 percent of American cocaine imports
brought by Mexican cartels through Mexico and Central America.
They are thinking about the wrong numbers. If there is
one number that embodies the seemingly intractable challenge imposed by the
illegal drug trade on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, it
is $177.26. That is the retail price, according to Drug
Enforcement Administration data, of one gram of pure cocaine from your
typical local pusher. That is 74 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago.
Prices match supply with demand. If the supply of an
illicit drug were to fall, say because the Drug Enforcement Administration
stopped it from reaching the nation’s shores, we should expect its price to go
That is not what happened with cocaine. Despite
billions spent on measures from spraying coca fields high in the Andes to
jailing local dealers in Miami or Washington, a gram of cocaine cost about 16
percent less last year than it did in 2001. The drop is similar for heroin and
These numbers contain pretty much all you need to
evaluate the Mexican and American governments’ “war” to eradicate illegal drugs
from the streets of the United States. They would do well to heed its message.
What it says is that the struggle on which they have spent billions of dollars
and lost tens of thousands of lives over the last four decades has failed.
Most important, conceived to eradicate the illegal
drug market, the war on drugs cannot be won. Once they understand this, the
Mexican and American governments may consider refocusing their strategies to
take aim at what really matters: the health and security of their citizens,
communities and nations."