There’s a pretty good chance that you, the Hopkins student reading this article, consumes drugs on the weekend. Or if not you, your friend or your roommate and certainly your classmates.
Statistically, a good chunk of Hopkins students consume drugs on a regular basis. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately five percent of college students use cocaine, and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 38 percent of college students used marijuana in the last year (though if I had to guess I would say these numbers might be higher for Hopkins based on socioeconomic status).
Americans have been exposed to the drug war in Latin America through media such as the television shows Breaking Bad and Narcos. But rarely do we think about the origins of the drugs that are consumed on our very campus. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the violence that has erupted south of the border as a result of the drug war over the past few decades, but we should be forced to confront the blood and suffering produced as a result of American consumption.
A bag of weed or coke doesn’t come with a “Made in Mexico” sticker, but we can trace where these drugs come from. Estimates vary widely, but studies from the Library of Congress and the RAND Corporation place foreign marijuana as constituting about 50 percent of the marijuana consumed in the United States. According to the DEA, 92 percent of the cocaine seized in 2016 originated from Colombia.
The drug trade has decimated parts of Latin America. U.S.-led military operations such as Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative have destroyed people’s farms and livelihoods. The influx of military equipment from U.S.-led drug war operations has contributed to escalating gang violence and the increased militarization of gangs.
Read the whole story at the Johns Hopkins News Letter.