Drug cartels spread violence into US

As long as Americans crave drugs and the cartels want money, Benitez said, “security in both directions is jeopardized.”

So why is America such a huge market for drugs? More disposable income, angst, ennui, or something else? Of course, once the addiction cycle gets started, the reason becomes irrelevant as the addiction takes on a life of its own. Ditto for gangs that morph into drug cartels. Poverty and racism may have been an initial reason for their birth, but once they get large and violent, then they become something malignant indeed.

  • DJ

    A doctor once observed, “Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.” The same is true of other mind-altering chemicals: if people didn’t like them, they wouldn’t do them. But as you suggest, the problem is twofold: why do people try them in the first place, and why do they become addicted?

    The answer to the second may never be known, though there is evidence that there is both a genetic and chemical component to addiction. It appears to me that those who get addicted are trying to fill a hole inside that nothing else will fill– though spiritual solutions such as 12 Step programs and religious experiences seem to offer the best alternatives. (Here let us distinguish those addicted from those merely dependent, as someone who goes through withdrawal symptoms after taking narcotics following an operation, for example, who once clean never touches the stuff again.)

    As to why people try it in the first place, two facts suggest themselves: (1) the stuff is available and accessible, and (2) they are dissatisfied enough with their present state of mind to seek to change it, whether to improve an already good thing or to soothe a bad frame one.

    These two conditions may have in common a single root: our culture teaches that money will make us feel better, and it doesn’t. Thus those who have and those who have not both seek to fill their perceived lack with wealth, and it doesn’t work. I have no doubt of this, as one of my clients, a multi-millionaire, is one of the most dissatisfied people I know.

    In my own experience, at the time I had everything I thought I wanted (or was supposed to want), I became suicidal, but soon after I lost everything, I found joy. That is not to say that poverty beings joy, not at all. What I learned was that my FOCUS on money (and stuff) made me miserable. When I had no work and lived in a tiny space because it was all I could afford, I had the opportunity to devote my life to service for a while– focusing on the wellbeing of others rather than my own. In that I found more joy than I had ever known.

    Today I do not live in poverty, and am probably middle class. But when I can keep my focus on helping others, I am much happier than when I focus on “what’s in it for me.” The attitiude of service, I have come to believe, is completely against modern neocon-influenced American culture, which teaches the lie that if we have more money we have more happiness.

    Maybe for once in my life I am truly countercultural.

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