Associated Press: “Study Links Drug Enforcement to More Violence”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 29, 2010

    Just in case this recent CNN headline — “Government: More than 22,000 dead in Mexico drug war” — didn’t make this point crystal clear, we now have a scientific study published by the good folks at International Centre for Science in Drug Policy to drive home the painfully obvious.

    Study links drug enforcement to more violence
    via The Associated Press

    The surge of gunbattles, beheadings and kidnappings that has accompanied Mexico’s war on drug cartels is an entirely predictable escalation in violence based on decades of scientific literature, a new study contends.

    A systematic review published Tuesday of more than 300 international studies dating back 20 years found that when police crack down on drug users and dealers, the result is almost always an increase in violence, say researchers at the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, a nonprofit group based in Britain and Canada.

    In 87 percent of the studies reviewed, intensifying drug law enforcement resulted in increased rates of drug market violence. Some of the studies included in the report said violence increases because power vacuums are created when police kill or arrest top drug traffickers. None showed a significant decrease in violence.

    Predictably, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske — like all prohibitionists — would rather stick his head in the sand than acknowledge the obvious.

    When asked whether he believes that legalizing and regulating marijuana — the crop that, according to his own office, provides Mexican drug lords with over 60% of their present profits — would in any way stave this ongoing violence, he responded: “I don’t know of any reason that legalizing something that essentially is bad for you would make it better, from a fiscal standpoint or a public health standpoint or a public safety standpoint.”

    Really? So does the Drug Czar favor outlawing alcohol, tobacco, red meat, trans-fats, soda, corn syrup, junk food, caffeine, sugar, and any one of thousands of other products and activities that are “essentially bad for you” too?

    And what about those 20,000+ dead since 2006 — many as a direct result of the United State’s prohibitionists policies? The Drug Czar doesn’t believe that staving such violence isn’t benefiting the public’s health? (Answer: You can’t make someone understand when it is in their job description not to.)

    Sickeningly, ex-Drug Czar John Walters does Gil K. even one better — reiterating the notion (previously expressed by pending DEA head Michelle Leonheart) that the soaring violence and death south of the border is a sign that U.S. marijuana prohibition is working!

    According to the AP: “The former drug czar, John Walters, said the researchers gravely misinterpret drug violence. He said spikes of attacks and killings after law enforcement crackdowns are almost entirely between criminals, and therefore may, in a horrible, paradoxical way, reflect success. ‘They’re shooting each other, and the reason they’re doing that is because they’re getting weaker,’ he said.”

    Yes, you read that right. In John Walters’ deluded mind, murder victims Lesley Enriquez, — who worked at the U.S. Consulate and was four months pregnant — and her husband must have been ‘criminals,’ and the rising death toll on the U.S./Mexico border is obviously a human billboard of our success!

    It’s now apparent that only a fool — or someone who is paid to act like one — would fail to see that it is time to remove the production and distribution of marijuana out of the hands of violent criminal enterprises and into the hands of licensed businesses. Of course, the only way to do that is through legalization — yet this is a policy that, tragically, remains devoid from the Drug Czar’s, and the President’s, vocabulary.

    56 responses to “Associated Press: “Study Links Drug Enforcement to More Violence””

    1. Don says:

      The buzzards are picking the meat off the Hoarse and they stand there beating it in hopes it will get up again! The people that think Prohibition is working must have an IQ in the Negative Range, I have seen trained Monkeys with better sense than they have.

    2. William says:

      How many people have to drown in the blood of their loves ones before we become fed up with these monsters?

      Our leaders (read:sociopaths) give me the impression that they would stomp an infant to death for a nickel. It’s time to take the children out of their jaws.

    3. mcduffee420 says:

      I cant believe that michelle said that
      I cant belive hercockski said that
      I cant believe this is a “good thing”
      I cant believe we are “succeeding by death”
      I cant believe that I cant believe our gov’s answers
      I cant believe Marijuana is important enough for death
      I cant believe cnn is actually posting it’s a failure
      I cant believe a scientific team is not to believe
      I cant believe legalization isny in obama’s vocab
      I cant believe 20,000 dead since 2006
      I cant believe America’s government would rather have death

    4. The Oracle says:

      That video footage seemed so old. But then I’m an early adopter…being TheOracle with Shiva’s Eye, the Eye of Dangma. See now. The mere fact that the Mexicans still have enough money to sustain a long-term paramilitary campaign against Mexican government forces shows that the DEA et al. have not succeeded in decreasing their profits despite whatever confiscations made. Losses from confiscations must be reckoned in. The longer the cartels sustain themselves against the government forces the worse it will become. How so? Having found the equilibrium against government forces, the profit motive will still cause them to look to make more money from more markets, to want to extend their networks and increase sales volume. Silver or Lead? The corruption will continue. If the Mexican government has such a terrible time with the cartel forces, it is hoped they will ask the U.S. to send in its military forces, hoping for an invitation. Once there and things are cleaned up, it won’t be easy to get them to leave. Everyone knows that. Look at everywhere in the world we have ever had troops stationed. There are maybe France, Vietnam and Somalia as exceptions, but on the Mexican border there is U.S. money of concern.

      The Obama Administration simply has to make a stand on policy about not resisting efforts to legalize, definitely to have the DEA change its policy to make cannabis delicts the lowest priority on which no federal money can be spent on it. Once the power merchants see the problems decreasing and are dipping their hands above the radar in the profits things should progress faster.

      What happens in D.C. with medical marijuana being allowed and not raided, nor suppliers raided, is progress.

    5. ryan moore says:

      they should legalize it already…wtf??? gateway drug??? hahaha so is alcohol, but every1 knows thts not going 2 be criminalized anytime soon..and just as laws against marijuana stir up more violence; so would laws banning alcohol, but on a far greater scale. and alcohol in most cases leads 2 violence…does pot??? nooo…all the stoners are happy…and even the angry ppl tht smoke are 2 stoned 2 care about violence…pot is good!! I think it should be legalized for people 21 and over across the country, like alcohol only safer…how many ppl crash their vehicles on pot alone???….vs. alcohol??? haahhaa…just shows u how stupid our government really is…

    6. Brian says:

      Please don’t for establishment Democrats or Republicans unless they specifically support full legalization. Time to start thinking outside the box. I suggest you look at liberty candidates running in your state:


    7. Brian says:

      don’t *vote* for establishment…

    8. Evilpolice says:

      Well sure! That’s exactly how the cops want it too. It’s good for business. Blood in the streets = employment. Let’s face it, nobody involved in law enforcement sincerely wants to live in a peaceful world. I think they’ll do anything in their power to make sure that pot stays illegal and violence continues to spread.

    9. Mike Goldman says:

      Cannabis is not essentially bad for you. It is essentially good for you. Cannabis is medicine, it is food, it is nutritious, it is benign, it is beneficial.

    10. truthloud says:

      If we look at the extremely wealthy individuals driving prohibition, the problem is pretty obvious. This is no longer a world where reason exists. This is a world where the man with the bigger wallet gets his way. If the man with the bigger wallet wants marijuana to remain illegal, it will remain illegal PERIOD. The staggering loss of human life and individual freedoms mean nothing to these wealthy men. The drug dealers don’t care, and the politicians obviously don’t care- Or look at the violence as a “good thing” (which is sick.) Al illegal drugs that are confiscated are handed over to the various intelligence agencies and delivered back out onto the streets. It’s a never ending source of income to the government. They are not going to give that up easily! If marijuana is ever to be legal and regulated, we must first replace this greed driving system with COMPASSION. There is no other way.