The American desire for drugs combined with a policy of criminalizing its sale and possession has not only filled jails of this nation, but it has left in its wake devastating consequences for its neighbor to the south. The United States government has exerted pressure on the government of Mexico to destroy its drug lords, but the only result has been to initiate open warfare between drug gangs and the police. In the latest episode of this conflict, drug traffickers killed seven Mexican policemen who were searching a drug gang hide-out in Culiacan. They were shot by gangsters inside the building who also threw grenades at the police. They were most probably killed by members of the gang of drug kingpin, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.
The drug wars have definitely escalated during the past year with at least 1,400 being killed so far this year. Thousands of police and members of the armed forces have been thrust into the battle but drug gangs appear to be equally armed.
The American people continue trying an approach which makes use of drugs illegal. Actually, drugs were legal in most of the United States during the 19th century and it was not until the beginning of the 20th that using drugs became a crime. There are an estimated 600,000 people in jail for drug offences. At some point, perhaps it is time to pursue other avenues of dealing with drugs, including legalizing small amounts that are not so lethal.