So after posting a few times about the Mexican drug war, I got to thinking about its possible cascading effects. I only wrote about this topic in response to questions I’d received from travelers. But how do the actions of the Mexican drug cartels influence jobs, families and the economy on this side of the border?
As if we didn’t already dump considerable wherewithal into the war on drugs during this unprecedented economic downturn, we’re now faced with the prospect of spending even more tax dollars on enforcement. But where does this money come from? “Tax dollars” is a little misleading, not because it’s a lie, but because of the consequences of hasty reallocation of stressed government resources.
When you take money from the budget to pay for more border patrols, million dollar X-ray equipment and helicopters, drug rehabilitation gets the poo end of the poo-stick. The families most in need of therapy and rehab find their drug recovery options shriveled or gone entirely. And it’s not just a story of a smackhead not getting her methadone. No, it cascades from there.
The labor force has now lost a worker to drugs. Health employees lose their jobs. Instead of receiving reformative care junkies resort to crime. Etc. Etc. I’m just riffing here, so I know I’m missing nuance. But the point is that the Mexican drug wars and our response to them are directly related to US jobs, families and economy.
What can you do? Until we adopt a sensible national drug policy, you can donate your time, money or words of support to drug addiction treatment centers. Our reactions to drugs should be based on the people hurt by them and our failed policies rather than the few parties who benefit from the sale of drugs.