The United States leads the world in illegal drug consumption. According to reports, the United States is home to 6.2 million cocaine users. Our children are also contributing to the drug problem in the country. In 2008, 40 percent of all high school students had tried marijuana.
Americans pay more money for illegal drugs than any other country. Reports show that Americans spent $40.6 billion on marijuana, 28.3 billion on cocaine, 27 billion on heroin and 13 billion on methamphetamine. Many South American countries are supplying the citizens of the United States with drugs, and in turn their countries are turning into a war zone. While everyone is aware that countries like Columbia and Mexico are ravaged with drug cartels and the incredible violence that accompanies those groups, no one is really looking at why the drug cartels exist in the first place.
Drug cartels are there because American citizens are demanding drugs at a rate that puts them at the top of the consumer list. When the United States government talks about putting an end to the war on drugs, they need to look at their own citizens. They need to cut off the demand.
Other reports indicate that countries like Guatemala are feeling the effects of the drug cartels in the south and the addicts in the north. Guatemala is situated between America and countries like Columbia, Bolivia and Peru. The illegal drugs, mostly cocaine, originate in Columbia, Bolivia and Peru but need to be transferred to consumers in America. Because Guatemala stands between the cartels and America, the country has started to become overrun with drug cartels. The cartels are seizing control of trade routes and inserting themselves along the way, ensuring that their inventory make it safely into the United States.
As the war on drugs continues, more and more people are realizing that the United States is not an innocent player, by any stretch of the imagination. The amount of drugs that our country demands is enticing thousands of people to participate in a deadly game.
The only real ways to reduce the problem is by reducing that demand. This concerted effort should have more of its focus on addiction treatment and prevention and much less on law enforcement.