Justice in Mexico

Director of Drug Control Policy Turns to Mexico for Guidance on Curbing Drug Demand

06/23/11 — Richard Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, stated yesterday the important role of drug prevention and education in limiting drug demand in the United States, a demand which has played a large role in fueling the escalating violence in Mexico over the past few years. In an effort to reduce U.S. consumption, Kerlikowske has turned to Mexico to serve as an example, calling the country a “leader” in reducing drug usage. Mexico uses a model to address drug consumption that emphasizes public education and treatment for users, tending to view it more as a health issue than a criminal offense. Kerlikowske also stated that other countries, not just the United States, should take advantage of Mexico’s leadership in this area as participants convene for the 9th annual U.S.-Mexico Binational Conference on Drug Demand Reduction (Conferencia Binacional México-Estados Unidos sobre la Reducción de la Demanda de Drogas), which is taking place in Mexico City this week.

Additionally, while Kerlikowske commended President Calderón on his courage and initiative in targeting narco-trafficking and drug related violence, he criticized former leaders that have focused their efforts on legalization as a possible method for curtailing drug use. Kerlikowske argued that legalizing drugs in the United States would be not only “absurd,” but would fail to consider the social costs that drugs have on society. He instead suggested that “by preventing the use of drugs and by helping American addicts by seeking long term rehabilitation treatments, we gain the additional benefit of denying international crime organizations an important source of income.” He continued by stating, “Guiding a drug addict to successful treatment program is less costly and more effective than placing them in jail and later freeing them without attending to their addiction.”


SUN. “México, líder en lucha contra adicciones: EU.” Frontera. June 18, 2011.

Venegas, Daniel. “Labor de Calderón contra el narco es ‘extremadamente valiente’: Gil Kerlikowske.” Milenio. June 22, 2011.

Otero & Rodriguez, Silvia & Ruth. “Prevenir adicciones, vencerá a cartels: EU.” El Universal. June 23, 2011.

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