Ricardo Nicol, San Clemente
The reciprocal problems of narcotics crime and killing in Mexico and drug addiction in the United States would be greatly reduced by changing the strategy of the failed “war on drugs” being waged in Mexico (with costly, U.S.-provided guns, planes and helicopters) that tries to stop the inexhaustible supply of illicit drugs flowing into this country. Go, instead, to a “winning hearts and minds” strategy that targets the insatiable demand for drugs in the United States, and would be far less costly in terms of lives and money.
The model for such a strategy is that of the anti-tobacco smoking media campaigns, health information programs and dissuasive laws which have persuaded Americans to voluntarily reduce the consumption of a very addictive and harmful substance by more than 60 percent in the last 50 years, and the downward trend still continues.
A similar effort to reduce Americans’ demand for addictive drugs would bring enormous short- and long-term benefits to both the U.S. and Mexico. War is not the answer, and the proposed border wall won’t help either, because both address the supply side of the traffic. As it was for the smoking of tobacco, reducing the demand is the answer.