Thursday, May 25, 2023

Chapitos Indictments Show Drug War Futility

Christina Dent penned this guest column.  She is the Founder & President of End It For Good, a Mississippi-based nonprofit inviting people to support approaches to drugs that prioritize life and the opportunity to thrive. She lives with her husband and sons in Ridgeland.

The recent indictment of El Chapo’s sons for their role in drug trafficking, money laundering, and violent crimes, highlights one more time what US drug policy has illustrated for decades. When the market for a popular drug is forced underground, all hell breaks loose.

By prohibiting popular drugs, we basically took a massive windfall of consumer cash away from legal businesses and put it in a big pile. People still want those drugs and are still holding out cash to anyone willing to supply them. But now only people who break the law can get a piece of the pie. Even worse, the more ruthless they are, the more cash they can get. This is where torture and feeding rivals to tigers comes in.

It's predictable human nature that when people see hundreds of billions of dollars up for grabs, they say, "I want some of that.” The next step is to get it, by any means possible. Drug prohibition rewards violence. It effectively sets up a cash-for-crime program. If the goal is to stop despicable behavior that undermines public safety, we would be wise to reconsider the way current drug policy incentivizes that very behavior.

But the mayhem doesn’t stop with soaring crime. Under prohibition, overdose deaths also skyrocket as quality control goes out the window and consumers have no idea the potency or purity of the drugs they consume. The risk associated with smuggling also makes it necessary for cartels to pack the biggest punch in the smallest package. This is why we have fentanyl in the street drug supply. It is a predictable response to the incentives of prohibition. It’s fentanyl today, but it will be xylazine and nitazines tomorrow.

There is no light at the end of this tunnel of violence and death unless we address the core problem: drug prohibition. Even going to war with cartels will solve absolutely nothing. As long as popular drugs are prohibited, consumer cash is still up for grabs, and there is an endless supply of El Chapos willing to do unspeakable things and sell unpredictable drugs to cash in. We're at war with our own drug laws. The sooner we change those, the more lives we can save and safe communities we can regain.

What would it look like to roll back prohibition? It would mean allowing legal, law-abiding businesses to sell quality-controlled drugs to adults, and allowing adults to make a broader range of legal choices about their drug use. That’s the uncomfortable path out of this disaster, but it’s not a new path. We’re already walking it with alcohol and tobacco. 



No cartel is feeding their rivals to tigers over alcohol or tobacco trafficking routes, as El Chapo’s crew apparently does. No one is dying because the alcohol they bought from a regulated business is contaminated. The alcohol and tobacco markets are legal, regulated, and for the most part rather boring. Those drugs still cause a lot of harm, but criminalizing them would just add more harm as quality control went out the window and cartels fought over market share.

If we want to stop financially incentivizing El Chapo’s successors, and if we want to save tens of thousands of people from dying every year from contaminated drugs, alcohol and tobacco show us there is an alternative. Allowing drugs to be sold legally to adults opens the door for appropriate regulations on age to purchase, potency and purity, labeling, and honest education.

We already have numerous access models for legal drugs. Some are sold with a prescription, some through pharmacies without a prescription, some through licensed premises like a bar where the alcohol is consumed on-site, and some through licensed sales like a liquor store. The new market for cannabis has its own regulatory structure. None of those avenues for drug access are perfect, but the alternative is El Chapo. For many drugs, for many decades, we’ve chosen El Chapo. We can choose differently.

Cartels are responding to the financial incentives our laws have put in front of them. If we want to show how serious we are about fighting cartels and fighting fentanyl, we have to look inward at our drug laws, not outward at the people taking predictable advantage of the incentives those laws set up.


Anonymous said...

Dent and her nonsense is pathetic.

Until drug users are seen for what they really are, criminal scum, this society will continue to coddle them.

Build a wall. Prosecute and jail criminals. Let drug addicts deal with their own self-made problems.

While we’re at it, go and kill the cartels.

She is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Now apply this idiotic thinking to sex trafficking and see the results.


Anonymous said...

Dumb af. Ask Oregon what happened when they decriminalized hard drugs. The leading cause of death in Portland is drug overdoses.

Anonymous said...

Legalize murder too.

Anonymous said...

The cartels aren't filling a vacuum; they introduced the drugs to the U.S. in the first place to create a market, starting with pot, heroin, and cocaine.

Anonymous said...

She is singing a worn out tune. Will there be an age cutoff? 21? 18? What happens when the 21 or 18 year old gives it to the 17 year old? 10 year old?

Legalizing drugs is like removing all sober drivers from the road so the drunk drivers won't hit them.

Anonymous said...

Prohibition works!

Anonymous said...

She has deep GOP connections in Mississippi who are pushing legalization.

Anonymous said...

@5:50PM - the opposite of addiction is connection. 10% of all of society is addicted to something. Could be alcohol. Cigarettes. Caffeine. Sugar. Cocaine or even meth. The additions that tend to mask pain are used most by those who have suffered extreme trauma like child abuse, sexual assault, dysfunctional family, or other terrible traumatic events. If we spent our money helping the 10% trauma sufferers build loving connections, we would save a lot of money and grief in the long run. My conservative values are far too right to keep throwing money away like the democrats do.
@609:PM - all crime that harms others should be met with swift punishment. I’d be in favor of death penalty for sex offenders. But that doesn’t apply to those who decide their drug of choice to escape reality. Not the same thing at all.
@6:15 - Portugal, Uruguay, Vancouver, Oregon and every other geographic location that decriminalized all drugs, saw an immediate drop in overdose rates and drop in crime. Shouldn’t we seek that same model?

I could go on, but it is really frustrating to see people who obviously intend to be conservative unwittingly fall into the liberal trap of spending money we don’t have to solve problems that cannot be solved.

Anonymous said...

To 5:50, define a drug user. A college student who takes Xanax to study? The soccer mom who smokes pot at night? The dad who has a couple of drinks with his family at a restaurant? The chain smoking elderly lady that answers the phone at the body shop? The lawyer who does coke at his friends bachelor party? The radiation oncologist who is on Prozac to deal with the stress of their job? I could go on…

The vast majority of drug users are not criminals, dead beats, or scum. It seems you, my friend, have the problem seeing reality. But generally, when people result to name calling or insults, they know they have lost.

Anonymous said...

If you ask the average self supporting adult why they don't use illegal drugs, they'll say 'because it's illegal' (and therefore not worth the risk).

Remove that barrier and you'll have scores more people "trying out" addictive drugs and - surprise! - they like them, so they do them some more, until they wake up one day and realize they're starting to kinda NEED them.

Recreational drugs are designed for that. If they don't do that, people won't keep buying them.

Drugs like fentanyl are only unique in how uniquely (and cheaply) effective they are in moving from "want" to "need"... to "dead".

The author sounds young and naive.

Anonymous said...

VOTERS’ REMORSE: Blue state survey shows majority want to re-criminalize drugs: 'We made an enormous mistake'

The cities with the most liberal drug policies in America have had enough. When liberals have had enough it’s bad. BTW: this Dent lady is Joel Bong-gar sister.

Anonymous said...

What, then, would outlawing "assault weapons" do for the illegal arms trade?

Drug laws did not cause human cruelty, greed, and lust for power.

Is the Sinaloa cartel worse than Al Shabab, Boko Harem, or Al Quaeda? I doubt it, but no one is suggesting we legalize their businesses to stop them from killing people.

Public corruption, from border agents to elected officials, is a piece of this puzzle that has got to be addressed if any progress is to be made. We've been turning a blind eye to public corruption south of the border for so long we think it's normal.

Anonymous said...

WTF is her problem and why is he so obsessed with legalizing drugs. Her brother Joel Bomgar was obsessed with marijuana but that was just a ploy. He believes like his sister does except he knew you had to start out small, like with pot, and work your way up to the heavy stuff. The slow roll.

Anonymous said...

The boomers came out quickly on this one! Nothing in the article is untrue. It just doesn’t match up with what they want to believe. War on drugs is lost. Funds could be better used for something else.

Anonymous said...

Boomer here. She’s right. Legalize it and tax it big.

Anonymous said...

"Recreational drugs are designed for that. If they don't do that, people won't keep buying them."

Dude, there is nothing recreational about crack. I can assure you it's a full-time job.

Anonymous said...

@5:50pm “drug users are criminal scum” What is wrong with you. I’ve dealt with addiction and I assure you that I’m not scum. I love pious people like you. You will be humbled one day. I know I was. I see people differently now. People are in 3 categories….been thru it, going thru it, or will go thru it. I pray that God softens your heart!!!

Anonymous said...

Is this satire?

Anonymous said...

9:46, you exposed the motivation behind her "crusade"-Bomgar and money to create "legal" drug lords. Thank goodness for Mary Hawkins derailing their previous scheme.

Anonymous said...

"Accountability" is a word that is no longer referenced in society. The stone cold fact is that individuals do not choose to be born, and far too many millions are born unto grossly unprepared men and women who have no business being fathers or mothers.

"Having children" is merely a cavalier wishful thought without any thoughtful preparation for that young person that has infinite needs to grow and develop into a functional, self-sufficient, well-adjusted, law abiding citizen - their brain will then begin to entertain the idea of "I wish I had never been born."

Enter: Drugs (and alcohol) to self-medicate the emptiness and despair away. The dissolution of intact, reasonably functioning families is what is unraveling the very fabric of American society right before our eyes. Trouble is, most in the younger generation just want to be entertained and taken care of, and not to really "build" anything...especially a life or a family. It's the reason Socialism/Communism's popularity is on the rise among too many of them, not knowing they'll be the first to be eliminated.

If you want to be a great father, you'd better first learn how to be a great husband. If you want to be a great mother, you'd better first learn how to be a great wife. If you can't navigate that, then you have no business having children who will slowly self-destroy themselves (and wider society) regardless of whether drugs are legal or illegal.

Anonymous said...

5:36- So you or someone you know can’t control an impulse to do drugs or drink too much and you lash out at the poster that exposes that weakness. But then again, I’m sure you think that any addiction is a disease”.

Pathetic excuse making for bad behavior in society is destroying this nation.

If you are drinking too much, smoking pot as your teenagers sleep in their rooms, or doing prescription narcotics for anything other than therapeutic needs, then you are the problem.

More towards a zero tolerance policy and see how quickly violence plummets.

Build more jails. Put the criminals in prison. Throw away the key.

This has nothing to do with God. We all have free will. Take responsibility for your life you losers.

Anonymous said...

People here suck.

Anonymous said...

Drugs won the war on drugs.

Anonymous said...

The arguments for legalization and decriminalization never hold up to scrutiny. In the end, proponents simply want to enjoy a pleasant time getting fucked up with no consequences. If casual drug abuse were so laudable and consequence-free, why do so many addicts eventually want to come off their drug of choice?

Anonymous said...

I know myself well enough to avoid drugs that have addicted, ruined and killed millions of victims. But young people will try extremely addictive substances on a dare, a whim or due to peer pressure. Keep illegal drugs illegal, deliver harsh consequences to dealers.

There are so many healthy, natural experiences like downhill skiing that provide exhilaration with only identifiable, preventable risks.

Anonymous said...

Dishonestly justifies legalizing drug addiction because this policy made Oregon great? Portland and Western Oregon are wastelands of homelessness, crime and drug addicts and anyone with a smartphone or TV knows Oregon's decline was fueled by liberal drug policies.

Anonymous said...

@8:53 - and according to the daily communist, Republicans secretly hate that abortion is banned and are now worried all their illegitimate unborn children will ruin their lives. Apparently, republicans feel their casual sex is more sacred than Jesus himself according to a recent survey.

Why would you go to Fox News and the NY Post to find out how liberals view an issue?

Anonymous said...

So, the writer has proposed a lawless society? An anarchist point of view? Aren't we already seeing the breakdown of civilized soceity? What is a community of people without order? We see a glimpse of that in democratic controlled cities, now.

Before all the present, dopeheads, come to say the writer proposes no such extreme position, tell me how this doesn't lead to that. What's next, no stopsigns, and traffic lights? Defund the police? Surely no one would want to defund the police, not in a civilized society.

What about my protection from those that participate in this mind altering exercise? Are you ignorant enough to believe others won't be harmed?

Anonymous said...

Handing a hurting person a weapon or pornography or lottery ticket or glutinous amounts of food or alcohol or drugs or anything else that can harm them and telling them to self-soothe with said item(s) and that “it’s okay because it’s legal” is monstrous and is a deep affront to that person’s dignity. Instead of a life raft, it’s a millstone. I’m the child of an addict and my life would not have been better had my parent been doing drugs legally instead of illegally. My dead cousin wouldn’t be any less dead if her drugs had been legal. This woman’s opinion is pompous and destructive and one that Satan would all too gladly exploit to cause more needless human misery and despair.

Anonymous said...

@7:22am. Not everyone that gets addicted was by free will. My addiction was caused by cancer and the pain meds prescribed. I beat my addiction, but some don’t. I pray you never have to try and survive cancer and the associated pain that goes with it. But, you sound like a real tough guy, so I’m sure you would not need any help.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately but realistically alcohol has been an integral part of human culture for thousands of years. Our efforts to stop consumption have no realistic chance of success. But so-called recreational drugs cannot get the same treatment if we are to maintain a civilized society. Why? Because more than anything humans consume, drugs fill a need and create a need. There is a thin line between enjoyment and need, and if you try enough drugs you will probably find one which will fill your personal weak spot and you will develop a need. The profit incentive to create more "recreational" drugs will guarantee the development of new and more addictive drugs. What could be more profitable than an addictive product? A legal drug buffet will destroy lives faster than our gun violence.

Anonymous said...

When they named their group End It For Good, I’m guessing they meant a civilized society?

In looking at the makeup of their leadership, it appears that they live in an Ivory Tower and have little regard for the damage drugs to to inner cities. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

If you read any of her books and look at her facebook page, you will see that she lives on the dark side and is not someone who gives good advice.

Anonymous said...

@9:15 - the writer is not proposing anarchy, she is advocating for a libertarian view of the drug war. Many people think the government should have a reduced role in their ability to restrict personal liberties. Many of the issues related to drug problem result from the prohibition. Just like the moonshiners of days past, the criminal aspect of the drug supply would almost entirely vanish once legitimate businesses are able to participate in a regulated market. Are you ignorant enough to believe innocent people aren’t being harmed by the current prohibition?

Anonymous said...

Anyone involved in the manufacturing, distribution or use of illegal narcotics should be jailed and punished.

The only innocent victims here are babies born drug addicted.

Everyone else is making a choice to get involved with this evil.

Anonymous said...

5:36AM, you seemed to forget one category. Smart enough not to have to go through it. Some people can see what drugs have done to other people and are smart enough not to do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

@10:27 I'm not agreeing with this lady. You and the earlier poster paint all addicts with a broad brush. Not all addicts are addicts because of free will. Some get addicted to pain meds when prescribed by a doctor and it is tough to beat. I hope it never happens to you.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Dent,

Being a foster parent qualifies you for exactly jack-shit, except for being a foster parent. You are not a therapist, an addictionologist, or an expert on public policy.

Anonymous said...

8:47- So which one are you?

We are not speaking about legal drugs here so please focus.

We are discussing illegal narcotics that destroy families and ruin lives. Not sure why you can’t understand this simple difference.

If you are taking the libertarian approach, I can support that. But just don’t come crying for my tax dollars or charity when you have made an utter mess of your life and the lives of people around you. You make a mess? You clean it up. You get a DUI? YOU pay the price. Leave me out of your stupid decisions.

Anonymous said...

" Are you ignorant enough to believe innocent people aren’t being harmed by the current prohibition?", I'm educated enough to know that the rules of a civilized society, and those that are sworn to uphold those rules, are to protect me.

What the writer, and you, propose would take the punishment of current rules away, and give blessing to the havoc that would be reaped at such idiocies. People, like the writer, and those that support lawlessness, only see what you can't have.

You mentioned the liquor prohibition. Do you think there was less alcohol consumed after Kennedy and his like, had it made legal again? Do you believe fewer homes were destroyed, or lives shattered? So, how ignorant are you, to believe that legalization will stop all the current damage?

Anonymous said...

Well from what I understand we have a DPS Deputy Commissioner named Keith Davis won is trying his best to dismantle the states Drug Enforcement Agency.

Anonymous said...

But it's harmless.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this Dent bent lady could move to Seattle/Portland/SanFrancisco and wax eloquently on the results of her worn out ideas (needles, human feces, crime, homeless tent camps, OD'd corpses, vacant businesses) lining the streets of dying civilization with easy access to addictive drugs.

Enforced drug laws can protect most people, most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Other than trust fund kids and others who have income without work, drug addicts steal and/or beg for their expensive habits. As an oft repeated tragedy for example, very few, and I have known them, can find "clean" coke and just snort it recreationally on weekends. A few doctors and other professionals try this but eventually use it and other drugs also, as well as alcohol excessively, ruin their families, then die early.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand why we don’t call the drug cartels what they are: terrorist organizations.

Anonymous said...

@5:50 Hmmm, drug users are criminal scum? Congratulations, you are one of the select few upon whom God has conferred the merit badge of self-righteousness.

Anonymous said...

If the government cared about winning the war on drugs it would have. Illegal drugs is big business for both sides of that coin. If government won over drugs, how many state and federal LEOs would be out of a job? Were they gonna go? What about all the businesses that manufacture and supply products such as narcan to roadside testing kits to training drug dogs and everything in between that a LEO uses to detect, find, seize narcotics?

How many police officers, sheriff deputies, DEA, FBI, MBN agents etc. and staff would be let go? How much money in donations would politicians lose if there were no drugs to go after?

I’m not supporting this lady, just pointing out that some of you are so short sighted you can’t see the truth behind what’s going on…

Anonymous said...

5:37, if the shoe fits, feel free to wear it.

People that don’t have dependency issues arn’t the problem here.

Crime and drugs go hand in hand.

Stay away from drugs and there will be no issues.

So yes, God must have sent me that merit badge already. I’ll check the mail.

Anonymous said...

@5:37pm what’s your addiction? I bet you sit on the front pew and point out everyone’s sins because you practice yours in private where you think no one gets hurt with your addiction. I’m betting yours is porn!!!! You get a Porn Merit Badge.

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