Most Drug Users "Ignore" the Drug War

By May Wilkerson 06/04/12

US drug use has cost thousands of lives south of the border—but most users don't want to think about it.

Do you know the cost of your high?
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Drug use comes at a high priceand not just for those who get addicted. Steve Lopez of the LA Times is one of those seeking to highlight the relationship between the Mexican drug war and US drug users—most of whom, he claims, largely overlook the high death toll inextricably linked to their habits. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed south of the US border as part of an escalating war between drug cartels battling for power. But it seems that most people who use drugs rarely consider the implications. A 24-year-old recreational drug user from Echo Park, where, as elsewhere, cocaine, Ecstasy and other drugs are readily available, says "I do definitely realize that I have a connection to [the Mexican drug war], and it's sad." She adds, but "It's one of those things I'll try not to think about. It'll cross my mind and I'll push it out."

Massive quantities of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin pour in to the US—directly from or through Mexico—each year, satiating a voracious hunger for drugsboth from social drug users, as well as chemically-dependent addicts. Josh, a recovering addict who works a Cocaine Anonymous hotline in CA, denies responsibility for what he sees as the inevitable brutalities of "Mexican Mafia-type people. They're going to do what they're going to do, regardless." At the same time he acknowledges that drug cartels, "wouldn't be in business without us." Lopez emphasizes that treating and preventing addiction, rather than ramping up largely-futile efforts to bust drug trafficking operations, is a more effective approach to reducing the major role of US consumers in the drug war.


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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.