EL PASO — Drug abuse has been around a very long time and despite efforts to stop the illegal transportation of drugs to the U.S., it will not disappear any time soon, according to experts who gathered here recently to analyze the efficacy of the 40-year-old “War on Drugs.”
According to Anthony Placido, leader of the Drug Enforcement Administrator’s Intelligence Program, the solution to the drug problem is not going to be possible if authorities and the government pretend or believe that the consumption and trafficking of these substances will be solved with only one policy, instead, institutions need to face the idea that the problem will continue to grow.
“The reason we are talking about policy is not because once upon a time someone said lets get tough, just don’t do it; we are talking about policy because these drugs are destroying people lives, are destroying societies and families, and in some way they are undermining civilization,” Placido said during the conference held recently at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Placido emphasized that society needs to understand that the individuals behind these crimes are predatory criminals who thrive and enjoy the destruction of people and who look for ways to find areas that are poorly governed or ungoverned spaces to obtain power and begin their criminal careers.
Placido said that the violence in Mexico is due to three main issues. Two of them, he said, have been around since the beginning of time. Fighting among members of the same cartels and fighting between rival cartels to obtain power in certain areas of the country have been ongoing problems. But the most recent issue that has developed is that, since President Felipe Calderón took office, the cartels have been challenging the government.
“Calderón is in to win it,” Placido said, emphasizing that his policies such as the depuration of the police and governmental figures are heroic actions that are on their way to creating change, but since Mexico does not posses the necessary resources to fight them, it might take a longer period of time to have success.
He also explained that using law enforcement is not the only solution to win the war on drugs and that society has to be educated and informed about that damages and problems drugs can cause. Placido also said that people have all been addicts to certain things since Adam and Eve appeared on Earth.
“We are always in the search for doing something bad and then find ourselves with no way out,” Placido said. “If society or government in a certain way believe that by legalizing or controlling these substances the levels of criminal actions will decrease we are being misinformed.”
Placido said people have to understand that there is no way these criminals are going to get a suit and start sending resumes to enter the corporate world. He also said that these criminals are always in search of finding new ways for transporting and selling these substances and usually have success.
David Courtwright, professor at the University of North Florida and current president of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, said he doesn’t think that the drugs themselves are the problem. He said some drugs can actually save lives, but there needs to be more control over the way they are used.