Aug 26, 2010

The Failure of Whack-a-mole: How Can Domestic U.S. Drug Policy Help Mexico?

This report asks precisely the right question about U.S. drug policy in regard to its impact on Mexico. It comes to the conclusion that current policy, even with increased emphasis on prevention and treatment - such as President Obama's recently released National Anti-narcotics Strategy proposes - will have little beneficial effect. However, the report does not then take the next logical step and ask what would be the effect on Mexico of a change in U.S. policy to legalize the regulated sale of drugs.

How Can Domestic U.S. Drug Policy Help Mexico? "This report, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, explores the potential benefits to Mexico of reducing the demand for illegal drugs in the United States. The author, Peter Reuter, argues that a significant reduction in U.S. consumption would have a profound impact on drug-related violence in Mexico. “If the U.S. (illegal drug) market disappeared, Mexico’s problems would diminish dramatically, even with its own domestic consumption remaining,” Reuter states.

Yet the potential for significantly reducing U.S. consumption in the near future is slight. Professor Reuter estimates that efforts to reduce U.S. demand will be modestly successful over the next five years, which will, in turn, have a limited impact in Mexico. “The evidence is that enforcement, prevention, or treatment programs cannot make a large difference in U.S. consumption in that time period,” according to Reuter."

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