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Medical News & Perspectives
August 5, 2009

Mexican Drug Violence Intertwined With US Demand for Illegal Drugs

JAMA. 2009;302(5):482-483. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1108

Virtually every week brings reports of the latest episodes of drug-related violence in Mexico that has claimed the lives of thousands over the past few years. To rein in these violent eruptions, the Mexican government has deployed its military and police to fight the major drug cartels that control the lucrative distribution networks that bring illegal drugs into the United States.

But some experts say that the trafficking of illegal drugs, like all businesses, is one of both supply and demand and that the demand side—those who abuse drugs—also should be targeted. These experts propose that a concerted effort to quash demand by making treatment for substance abuse available to those who need it would make the drug trafficking enterprise significantly less profitable.