Drug Wars and Coffee Houses Paper

1178 words 5 pages
INTL 4997: The Mexican Drug trade | Reading Response #3 | | | Audrey Robert | 10/31/2012 |


David Mares gives us insight into the political economy of drug trafficking in his book Drug Wars and Coffee Houses. To help us understand how psychoactive substances are organized and distributed, he uses the concept of a commodity chain. A commodity chain is the system that links consumption of psychoactive substances to everything that makes it possible, and proves that if something affects one phase of the system, the other phases are affected as well. Consumers and producers in this system depend on each other, and “neither one could exist without the other” (Mares, p.13). The whole system consists of various pieces that
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The idea that trying to reduce demand or supply comes off as naïve, due to the fact that the state can only control so much (Andes, Charting the Possibilities, Oct. 5 2012). Another strategy policy makers follow is crime reduction. The strategy focuses not on the crime of distributing or producing the drug for consumption specifically, but more so on property crimes committed by drug consumers. Whether in order to acquire money to buy the drugs or simply as a result of being under the influence of these drugs, the idea is to decrease the amount of crimes related to drugs at all. This includes crimes committed by drug pushers (Mares p.30). The United States under the Nixon administration underwent a period following this strategy briefly before deciding that drug use was too connected to criminal activity and that it should be prohibited (Mares p. 125). With the harm reduction strategy, drug policy makers put their focus on reducing the “potential negative effects to users and society that result from the use of illegal substances” (Mares, p. 30). These negative effects generally refer to health-related risks, such as overdosing, consuming “adulterated substances,” or unsanitary sharing of needles between drug users, potentially spreading HIV. The basic idea is to try making it less dangerous to consume these psychoactive substances by providing treatment and education on psychoactive substances, therefore


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