The American audience sure loves its drug porn—from Scarface to the more recent binge-worthy popularity of the Grammy-winning series, “Breaking Bad.” There is nothing more intoxicating than the illicit, albeit vicarious, score.
But these drugs have to come from somewhere, and when we see the pictures of youth squeezed into concrete detention cells, or hear stories about the scabies, lice, and other ailments they brought in with them on the arduous journey from Central America, suddenly nothing seems very sexy.
What does one have to do with the other? A growing number of voices are trying to make it clear, despite the political clamor over the waves of unaccompanied children attempting to get through the southern border, that it’s all about the drugs. America’s drug problem, specifically, which goes beyond the cheap titillation of movies and film. It’s a $100 billion annual illicit drug industry, with some 23.9 million current users over the age of 12 (that’s more than 9 percent of the population 12 years and older).
In other words, America’s demand for drugs is driving children like Cristian Omar Reyes, an 11-year-old terrorized by gangs in Honduras, or Carlita, a 13-year-old Salvadoran, also fleeing gang violence, to the U.S-Mexico border. If you don’t want these children—an estimated 70,000 to 90,000 by the end of 2014—then the drug war must end.
“Of course there is a direct line between the drug war and the migration you are seeing today,” Terry Nelson, a retired U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, who now works with LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), told TAC. The only way to stop it is, “if you were to end the drug war today and begin to legalize all drugs.”