Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spillover

Couple of drug war items in the news this week:

1) More Mexico Youths Die from Violence Than Car Wrecks, Report Says.

As Mexico's drug war grinds on, violent homicide has overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of death of young people in the country, reports the Mexico City daily El Universal

2) Drug Deaths Now Outnumber Traffic Fatalities in U.S., Data Show.

Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes.

The comparison is less than perfect, but it turns out it's not wildly off-base when it comes to real numbers. Mexico suffered 15,000 drug war deaths last year and 17,000 traffic deaths, while in the US the numbers were 38,000 drug deaths vs. 36,000 traffic deaths. Most striking to us, however was that in the US, whose population is 2.7 times that of Mexico, drug deaths numbered a bit over 2.5 times the number of drug war deaths in its southern neighbor.

Or, to put it another way, while the two countries are on opposite ends of the problem - an insatiable demand in the north, a bloody war to stanch the supply in the south - the drug-related death rate in the two countries is practically the same. When it comes to drugs, the US is as much a killing field as Mexico. Sure, the deaths on the Mexican side tend to be a little more...theatrical, but that's probably just a Latino thing.

President Calderón is probably getting tired of suggesting that the US do something to cut demand. Maybe let's just try it his way. See if it works.

1 comment:

johnny b. said...

Anything positive here?