Narcos' Wagner Moura: 'The War On Drugs is a Big Flop'

By Seth Ferranti 09/07/16

Moura, who portrays Pablo Escobar on Netflix series Narcos, recently shared his thoughts on drug policy, drug legalization and the drug war.

Narcos' Wagner Moura: 'The War On Drugs is a Big Flop'
Photo Netflix/YouTube

Wagner Moura, who stars as Medellín cartel boss and cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series Narcos, thinks the War on Drugs has been a disaster and believes that all drugs should be legalized.

The Brazilian actor's thoughts support what the drug law reform movement in the United States has been advocating for quite a while now. While President Obama has been doing what he can to grant relief to victims of the drug war, and while public opinion has vastly shifted since the "Just Say No" era of the 1980s, our country is still fighting a war against drugs

“El Chapo is in jail. Pablo Escobar was killed. And what happened to the drug trade? Is it over?” Moura told the Daily Beast. “The War on Drugs is a big flop. Especially for those of us who live in countries that export and produce drugs. Those are the places where those wars are taking place, and still happening. The amount of people who are being killed in that war, I’m sure it’s bigger than the amount of people who are dying of overdoses.”

Narcos, which looks back at the Pablo Escobar era with the hindsight that comes from over 30 years of perspective, illustrates exactly what was (and is) wrong with the drug war, and why we are in our current situation when it comes to dealing with addiction in the U.S.

The flow of drugs has not stopped. When one dealer is busted, another just slides into his or her place. As long as there is a huge demand and appetite for illegal drugs in America, nothing will ever change, only the players. Back then it was Pablo, then El Chapo—who is next?

“I’m not saying addiction isn’t a big problem,” Moura continued. “I really think it is. But it should be treated as a health problem, not as a police or military problem ... I always thought drugs should be legalized and now, just by doing [Narcos], it reinforced that. Killing and sending drug dealers to prison is not solely the problem. This is not the point. After you incarcerate the drug lord, of course it represents a defeat to the drug cartels, but it’s not gonna end them.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.