Much of the news these days is focused on the Middle East, with ISIS taking front and center as being many Americans’ biggest concern. We have all seen the devastation in Syria on television and on the front pages. The death toll is staggering. While every one of us should feel disturbed by the carnage caused by this civil war being fought overseas, it is important to remember that the drugs being used and abused by Americans also come with a heavy price.
People die in this country every day from addiction, both from overdoses and the damage done by years of abuse. But, we would be wise to remember that the drugs that feed the fire of the United States’ insatiable drug habit, come to us by a bloody road. The clear majority of illegal drugs used today in this country arrive via Central America—particularly through Mexico.
At any given time, or in any given year, several Mexican drug cartels vie for the power to fuel the fire of addiction raging just north of the border. And negotiations usually take the form of gunfire, not peaceful talks. As a result, a global survey has revealed that after Syria, Mexico has become the second deadliest conflict area in the world.
A War for Drugs
In 2016, there were 23,000 intentional homicides in Mexico. The smaller central American countries have not been left unscathed either, with 16,000 having been killed during the same time in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. But it is important to remember that the deaths are not always the result of one cartel or gang fighting another, in each of the aforementioned countries the military has been tasked with fighting the war against transnational drug trafficking. And the cartels themselves have military grade weapons.
“The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is even more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation,” said John Chipman, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) chief executive and director-general, in the statement.
The cartels, to be sure, are not going anywhere as long as there is demand. There are millions of Americans with untreated addiction. Each year, those same people spend billions of dollars to maintain the very habit that is, in fact, killing them. Billions of dollars which are destined to line the pockets of cartel bosses south of the border.
Every time a particular cartel or boss, like Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is taken down there is always someone else to fill the void.
Treating Addiction is The Best Weapon
Encouraging people to seek help for addiction not only helps individuals, it helps society. Not just ours. Thousands of innocent Mexicans, with zero affiliation to the cartels, have lost their lives just because of proximity. By ending the stigma of addiction more people will begin to see that recovery is possible, that treatment does work. For too long substance use been viewed as a crime, and that the solution to the problem was incarceration. We know that wars on drugs have little effect on addiction rates, but on the other hand treatment has a huge effect.
If you or a loved one is battling an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today. We can help break the cycle of addiction, and start you down the most important road of life.