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Destroying drug cartels

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WHEN the Mexican navy announced on 9 October that Heriberto Lazcano, leader of the country's most violent criminal cartel, Los Zetas, had been killed it was hailed as a major victory in the war on drugs. But it's doubtful that Lazcano's death will be the end of Los Zetas - or reduce violence in Mexico. After all, there is already a new leader.

More useful targets might be those apparently minor players with key connections, according to a complexity analysis approach that could help Colombia - the world's largest producer of cocaine - investigate and prosecute cartel members.

Complexity analysis depicts drugs cartels as a complex network with each member as a node and their interactions as lines between them. Algorithms compute the strength and importance of the connections. At first glance, taking out a central "hub" seems like a good idea. When Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993, for example, the Medellin cartel he was in charge of fell apart. But like a hydra, chopping off the head only caused the cartel to splinter into smaller networks. By 1996, 300 "baby cartels" had sprung up in Colombia, says Michael Lawrence of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation in Canada, and they are still powerful today. Mexican officials are currently copying the top-down approach, says Lawrence, but he doubts it will work. "Network theory tells us how tenuous the current policy is," he says.

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It will never end, its a fairy tale to think that it will, there will always be good and evil, its just that the good must always out weigh the evil, or we will fall apart

Edited by JeffRobinson

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The only way to end it is to put an end to the demand; mostly coming from the US. I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future. I read the FBI did something similar in Puerto Rico. They went in and took out a large chunk of the cartel there from top to bottom. The power vacuum that was left caused crime the following year to almost double, as people fought tooth and nail for the vacant spots above them.

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It will never end, its a fairy tale to think that it will, there will always be good and evil, its just that the good must always out weigh the evil, or we will fall apart

Just be clear that the 'evil' party is the American consumer who creates the seemingly unending demand and has made the illegal drug trade a $100 billion (American 'billion' or 1,000 x a million) market.

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The very fact that drugs are still illegal after all the evidence of how ineffective the WoD has been shows that keeping them that way serves a function within society for the powers that be.

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The very fact that drugs are still illegal after all the evidence of how ineffective the WoD has been shows that keeping them that way serves a function within society for the powers that be.

I agree with this for a lot of drugs. Some other drugs though, can cause psychosis and/or permanently tilt someone towards mental disease. Some are also highly addictive even after a single use. Pot, cocaine, and ecstasy have no business being illegal. Opiates and Meth could be devastating for society; specially meth.

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I agree with this for a lot of drugs. Some other drugs though, can cause psychosis and/or permanently tilt someone towards mental disease. Some are also highly addictive even after a single use. Pot, cocaine, and ecstasy have no business being illegal. Opiates and Meth could be devastating for society; specially meth.

Meth and opiates are already devastating society, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods. Can it really get that much worse? I´m talking about making them available for addicts to control rather than to condone . I´m not talking about marketing them like alcohol (in fact the exact opposite). I see it as an all or nothing thing but I know others feel different.

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Meth and opiates are already devastating society, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods. Can it really get that much worse? I´m talking about making them available for addicts to control rather than to condone . I´m not talking about marketing them like alcohol (in fact the exact opposite). I see it as an all or nothing thing but I know others feel different.

Even if it's done like medical marijuana in California, I think a lot of people would try it out just for the hell of it. That's what happened with medical marijuana. They have rows of 'doctor' offices in Venice, California that will give you a 'prescription' for a few bucks. With some opiates and meth, it just takes one try to hook you in. If it's only for the already addicted, how do you determine that? Some opiates can also trigger psychosis and mental disease. The Opium wars were interesting. The English were selling opium to China in the mid 1800's. The port city through which opium came in, had 80% of the population addicted. It's extremely addicting stuff. Because heroin is a hallucinogen, you don't really want tons of people running around having random hallucinations, which are sometimes violent and illicit violent responses. Human beings build a tolerance to heroin very fast so once you start it's a race to your death (called "chasing the dragon"). At the beginning $10 will give you a great high for the weekend, before long you need $1000 a day to feed the addiction. How would that problem be solved with legal heroin?

The biggest problem in educating America's children about drugs is that all illegal drugs are clumped together. They are told pot is horrible, that it will end your life, lead you to being a junkie, etc, etc. The same is said about cocaine, heroin, and meth. When you try pot, you realize it's not bad at all. Munchies are the worse side effect (if you over do it, you can get some hallucinations or bad paranoia). It's also not addictive and you can't overdose. All in all, not that bad. As a kid, you think, "what else have they lied to me about?". You try cocaine. Not that bad either. Not very addictive and it has a hangover effect - similar to alcohol in both respects. You can overdose but it's very rare - as often as people overdose on alcohol. So you think, "What else have they lied to me about?" So you try heroin or meth...your life is over.

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There is only a small majority of the population that will move from an experimental using phase to becoming an addict. Drug Use/Abuse occurs on a continuum with only about 10% going on to become hard-core users. I don´t see that changing too much if drugs were to be legalized/controlled. Addicts could register and use clean drugs and come into regular contact with health-care providers. It may create some new issues to be dealt with but would also wipe-out many of the secondary consequences of drug use which cause the most harm to individuals and society IMO.

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There is only a small majority of the population that will move from an experimental using phase to becoming an addict. Drug Use/Abuse occurs on a continuum with only about 10% going on to become hard-core users. I don´t see that changing too much if drugs were to be legalized/controlled. Addicts could register and use clean drugs and come into regular contact with health-care providers. It may create some new issues to be dealt with but would also wipe-out many of the secondary consequences of drug use which cause the most harm to individuals and society IMO.

I can respect that. We won't know until we try. I think we should definitely start with pot, cocaine, and ecstasy and see how it goes from there.

I know some people in California still get their pot illegally because they don't want to be in a government list that could be used against them in the future. Say, being denied health coverage or life insurance, or brought up in a criminal case (like a car accident). That's another issue that has to be resolved.

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The only way for governments to win a war on drugs is to legalise and sell them.

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So, you're saying we should sellsomething illegal like meth to the public?

"Hey guys, try this! Guaranteed to ruin your life for 20 dollars!" :D

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