• Angela Joyce

Why Should I Care About International Drug Trafficking?

International drug trafficking is a global issue, touching the lives of everyone we know in one way or another. Either your nosey neighbor abuses her Percocet prescription every time her mother-in-law comes into town, your younger cousin dropped out of high school to smoke dope with his friends, the kid with a backpack at your college frat party pushes synthetic pills for extra cash or maybe you yourself are a victim of substance abuse disorder. Perhaps someone close to you is currently in recovery or maybe someone you love is fully engaged in the joys of wiping their memory clean every Friday night at five o’clock with their favorite drug of choice. It is possible that your local gas station attendant is actually an undercover international drug dealer. It is not too hard to believe that the handsome man zipping down the street in his bright yellow Ferrari secretly imports fentanyl from China, escaping the drudgery of everyday life while profiting from your younger sibling’s uncontrollable need to chill out and get high. Whatever the story is, I can assure you that international drug trafficking has touched your life in one way or another.

The increasing effects of globalization have acted to stretch, thicken, speed up and deepen the reach of international drug trafficking organizations. It is now a global concern that Afghanistan’s main source of income is the production and sale of opium poppies on the black market. This is now our concern because international flights have assured us that our children will be the ones who are injecting the opium they supply. Opium production in India will assure us the safe production of medical morphine, codeine and thebaine for the masses but it also works to upset terrorist groups in Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle who we have banned from opium production altogether. Mexican drug cartels are not a problem for Mexican citizens to solve alone. This is now our problem too, because violent crime and national instability have continually sent Mexican men, women and children running for the hills, making a break for our boarder in attempts to protect themselves from the disaster that local drug cartels have brought to the country at large. If the United States does not step in and assist Latin America with its growing drug trafficking issues, China will step in for us, filling the void that we have left. While they are there, they can form economic alliances with Columbia, Peru and Bolivia, potentially leaving us at a financial loss, compromising our national security and damaging our reputation as the world’s most powerful nation.

Looking at things from the perspective of realism, Mexico’s refugee crisis is Mexico’s problem, not ours. Their refugee hopefuls and drug trafficking hit met are outside of our boarders and outside our bubble of concerns. That being said, our national security depends on the containment of the Mexican drug cartels who are knocking down our door. If we want to survive in this world and prevent competing governments from rising to power, we must look at the offensive and defensive strategies to contain the spread of Mexican drug trafficking to the streets of Mexico. Similarly, our harsh policies on opium trafficking in the United States do not have to match our lenient policies of, “We are here to destroy half your crop and go home…” in Afghanistan. The health of their children and the substance abuse disorder of their community members is not of our concern. However, if we do not assist Afghanistan in their attempt to irradicate opium trade within the county, their heroin may end up on our doorsteps, destroying the health and happiness of people we love most.

Taking a liberal approach to international drug trafficking, everyone on earth will experience an increase in personal stability, an increase in peace, a decrease in national conflict and an overall improved feeling of contentment or joy if we can come together and work towards the irradiation of international drug trafficking worldwide. We can create a stronger, healthier global community if we take a liberal approach to substance abuse disorder treatment and recovery worldwide. The principles of equality and international interdependence demand us to offer the olive branch to developing countries, with nothing to offer us in return, who depend on the success of drug trafficking sales to survive in their community. This investment could come in the form of humanitarian relief including education infrastructure, the establishment of genetically modified fruit and vegetable farms, health and wellness community centers or global security technology, assuring our neighbors that they can walk home safely at night without getting cat called or mugged because their incompetent government officials being backed up by the big, bad drug cartels. When one country is lifted out of the darkness, the whole world shines brighter. When a drug cartel disappears from a country in the developing world, the legitimate success of a grassroots company might take its place.

Development, poverty and world hunger are the underlying forces that drive the success and failure of drug trafficking organizations around the world. Food, shelter and clothing are basic human needs. Some people in developing countries lack the technology and resources they need to meet these needs, and that is why they turn to drugs and violent crime. If this reality does not change, the likelihood of international drug trafficking coming to an end is entirely impossible. Mothers need to feed their children. Husbands want to provide a stable home life for their wives. If farming coca leaves in the Peruvian jungle is the only way to make ends meet, no one in that civilization is going to stop harvesting coca leaves. If we do not share our knowledge and resources with impoverished farmers in Afghanistan, the death rate of American teenagers overdosing on heroin is never going to dissipate. Mexican children are dropping out of school and joining gangs because they don’t want to get mugged or stabbed or beaten or killed. Unemployed scientists in China are producing fentanyl pills in their basements and peddling them to children because technological advances have eliminated their legitimacy in the workforce today.

International drug trafficking is a global issue that is bound and determined to affect your life in one way or another, whether you like it or not. Illicit drug sales happen all around you. So does peace, poverty, violent crime and addiction. If we want to change the world in a meaningful and sustainable way, we need to come together and solve the core issues resulting in the global spread of international drug trafficking. This is not an issue that one country, organization or think tank can tackle alone. This is an issue we must face head on, together.

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