The United States' war on drugs has failed and will continue to do so as long as it emphasizes law enforcement and neglects the problem of consumption, a Washington think tank says in a report co-chaired by a former president of Mexico.Relatedly, the outgoing US ambassador to Mexico had harsh words for the American drug war, reported the Dallas News (Nov. 27):
The former president, Ernesto Zedillo, in an interview, called for a major rethinking of U.S. policy, which he said has been "asymmetrical" in demanding that countries such as Mexico stanch the flow of drugs northward, without successful efforts to stop the flow of guns south. In addition to disrupting drug-smuggling routes, eradicating crops and prosecuting dealers, the U.S. must confront the public health issue that large-scale consumption poses, he said. ...
The report, which is the work of Brookings' Partnership for the Americas Commission, offers especially pointed criticism of the way the drug war has been waged.
Contrary to government claims, the use of heroin and cocaine in the U.S. has not declined significantly, the report says, and the use of methamphetamine is spreading. Falling street prices suggest that the supply of narcotics has not declined noticeably, and U.S. prevention and treatment programs are woefully underfunded, the study says.
"Current U.S. counter- narcotics policies are failing by most objective standards," the report says. "The only long-run solution to the problem of illegal narcotics is to reduce the demand for drugs in the major consuming countries, including the United States."
"As U.S. ambassador to Mexico, I've tried to be honest with both Americans and Mexicans alike, and the truth is, Mexico would not be the center of cartel activity or be experiencing this level of violence, were the United States not the largest consumer of illicit drugs and the main supplier of weapons to the cartels," Mr. Garza said during a recent speech in Texas. "The U.S. and Mexico must fight these criminal organizations together, or we will fail together."See related coverage from the New York Times.