Jack Cole former narcotics agent with 26 years’ experience and founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He claims that no one understands better the structural failures of prohibition than law enforcement agents. He says that Mexico should not follow the American drug policy model that’s aimed for failure. Policy should pursue the reduction of crime, disease, death and addiction, problems that worsen with the actions taken under prohibition. In his opinion the violence can be eradicated with the regulation. He also tells us his experience as a narcotics agent and the entrapment to recreational users.
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According to Arturo Valenzuela the U.S. has changed its drug policy. He argues that reducing demand has been intensified and damage control prioritized over police actions. He says the United States favors public health. He also argues that multifaceted strategies should be adopted to reduce domestic demand (beyond coercion), affirming that the strategy is focusing on this goal. He talks about the importance of international cooperation on drug policy and provide alternatives to the producing nations and their farming communities.
For Jorge Castaneda’s the drug war in Mexico represents the loss of 60 000 lives and is the main trigger for the growth of the murder rate in the country. He questions the amount of deaths Mexico will tolerate before changing its policy and puts in doubt the affirmation that 90% of those killed in the war on crime are drug smugglers (citing Human Rights Watch report on that matter) given the lack of coordination in information sharing between the federal and local authorities. He points that the effects of violence on the economy are unknown due to the lack of reliable information on that issue. He also talks about the example of Canada during the United States’ alcohol prohibition to argue that an independent policy can be pursued.
The author of “A Nightmare silenced” Sergio Ferragut says that the last ten years, consumption in Mexico has increased in tandem with the establishment of our country as a trafficking route. He accuses the authorities of corruption and collusion with criminals. He also states that the main problem of all the security crisis in Mexico stems from prohibition (which he compares with the failed Stalinist aspiration to end supply and demand). He stresses that the Mexican cartels generate between 1 and 3% of Mexico´s GDP and appeals to adapt a drug policy and a security strategy that are consistent with our national reality.
The Mexican judge speaks of the drug problem in Mexico from its legal perspective. He says the policy has advocated pursuing traffic while controlling the supply and rehabilitation has been relegated. Prevention and consumption must be treated on par of traffic, since Mexico is a country that has evolved to become a consumer. He cites the National Survey of Addictions 2008 to indicate a sharp increase compared to 2002, an increase of 22% in 6 years. He also mentions that by law the Mexican State must address drug intake with treatment.
The Director General of the National Institute of Psychiatry “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz” presents a historical and statistical account of the health response to addiction to illegal drugs in Mexico. A great presentation that discerns myth from reality and supported with great rigor.
In this talk Valdez argues that doctors are unjustifiably excluded from the debate about drug policy. He talks about a post prohibitionist model which prioritizes harm reduction based on scientific evidence. He also compares Drug consumption with health issues such as obesity, where the concern should be the health of consumers and not outlawing fattening foods. He also exposes the case of tobacco as an example of regulatory a model in which educational campaigns help reduce demand.
He advocates harm reduction due to the fact that current models of rehabilitation work for addicts and consumption, conceived as a disease and not as a crime, is more like a chronic degenerative disease that an infectious one (the latter are the only fully eradicated in the history of medical science).
Security expert Alejandro Hope says the drug trade is not associated with violence rates, arguing that there is no clear correlation between seizure data and homicides per capita. He argues that decriminalization models are not perfect, for example in the Portuguese case consumption has only been decriminalized but the rest of the sector is outside the law. He appeals to selectively prosecute criminal activity and materialize short-term results in lowering the levels of violence in Mexico.
The challenge of organized crime will force Mexico to become a country based on the rule of law, according to Luis de la Calle. Lawfulness will end with the environment in which the structures that develop support structures for criminals. He also states that increased economic competition would help diminish the problem of organized crime.
The founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Security and Democracy AC and expert on police matters, explains the difficulties faced by police forces in Mexico and the social stigma involved in this profession in our country. He describes prohibition as a nightmare scenario aggravated by the divisions that exists between police forces and Mexican society.