Drug Trafficking and Control

Foreign Affairs Article

The Rise of Mexico’s Self-Defense Forces

Authors: Patricio Afura-Heim and Ralph Espach

Across Mexico, the lawlessness and carnage of the drug wars have given rise to scores of local self-defense forces aiming to defend their communities. The federal government may be tempted to disband and disarm these armed vigilantes, but until it can shape up its security sector, the local groups offer an imperfect but acceptable alternative.

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Ask CFR Experts

Is it part of the U.S. anti-drug policy to sell weapons to Mexico to combat drug cartels?

Asked by Zub Merch

Under the security cooperation agreement called the Merida Initiative, the United States provides military and law enforcement assistance to the Mexican government in support of efforts to combat drug cartels and organized crime. The United States and Mexico jointly developed this agreement in response to a substantial increase in drug-related criminal activity and violence on both sides of the border.

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Primary Sources

Obama Administration: National Drug Control Strategy

In May 2010, President Obama released the administration's first National Drug Control Strategy. The press release states that the report "establishes five-year goals for reducing drug use and its consequences through a balanced policy of prevention, treatment, enforcement, and international cooperation. The Strategy was developed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with input from a variety of Federal, State, and local partners.

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Backgrounder

Mexico's Drug War

Author: Brianna Lee

Since 2006, the Mexican government has been in embroiled in a bloody drug war, which has failed to significantly curb trafficking. This Backgrounder looks at Mexico's eradication efforts, along with U.S. policy options for one of its most important regional allies.

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Transcript

Paradigm Shift: Efforts to Reform Drug Policy

Speaker: Gil Kerlikowske

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, discusses global drug policy, including a new emphasis on programs that recognize drug addiction as a disease of the brain instead of a moral failure, domestic and international trends in drug consumption, and the diversification of transnational criminal organizations.

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Video

Paradigm Shift: Efforts to Reform Drug Policy

Speaker: Gil Kerlikowske
Presider: John J. Devine

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, discusses global drug policy, including a new emphasis on programs that recognize drug addiction as a disease of the brain instead of a moral failure, domestic and international trends in drug consumption, and the diversification of transnational criminal organizations.

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Audio

Paradigm Shift: Efforts to Reform Drug Policy (Audio)

Speaker: Gil Kerlikowske
Presider: John J. Devine

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, discusses global drug policy, including a new emphasis on programs that recognize drug addiction as a disease of the brain instead of a moral failure, domestic and international trends in drug consumption, and the diversification of transnational criminal organizations.

See more in Drug Trafficking and Control

Foreign Affairs Article

The Cartel Crackdown

Author: Robert Bonner

Mexico is winning its death match against the drug cartels and rebuilding once-corrupt institutions in the process. But an election is approaching, and the candidates are calling for a truce. Mexico can take its place in the sun, but only if it wipes out the cartels for good.

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