The southwest border has become the nucleus of the U.S. and Mexican war on drugs, says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Thousands of law-enforcement agents are focused on traffickers' northward push of narcotics and the southbound flow of American guns and cash to fund and arm organized crime. Despite sophisticated intelligence, unprecedented cooperation between the U. S. and Mexico, and billions of U.S. dollars to pay for law-enforcement operations along the border and within Mexico, leaders of both countries are bedeviled by another part of the equation.
Tremendous U.S. drug use is the fuel that drives the trafficking trade — and with it the murders of more than 35,000 Mexicans since 2007. Experts agree the cycle of crime and violence will continue as long as high consumption persists. “The U.S. government is acknowledging that the demand for drugs in the U.S. is driving instability and violence in Mexico,” said Rafael Lemaitre of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “While you are enforcing the law and taking down violent drug organizations, at the same time you also have to educate every new generation of young people that drug use is harmful.”