Mexico's Increased Heroin Production

The Associated Press has an interesting article on Mexico's recent surge of poppy growing and production of heroin.

The heroin trade is a losing prospect for everyone except the Mexican cartels, who have found a new way to make money in the face of falling cocaine consumption and marijuana legalization in the United States. Once smaller-scale producers of low-grade black tar, Mexican drug traffickers are now refining opium paste into high-grade white heroin and flooding the world's largest market for illegal drugs, using the distribution routes they built for marijuana and cocaine.

Heroin use in the U.S. has risen alongside the crackdown on pain pills. With the pills becoming so controlled and expensive, people have turned to heroin. The U.S. has fewer meth labs since the restrictions on pseudoephedrine were ushered in. But people didn't stop using meth, the production just shifted to Mexico, and the finished product is now shipped here in larger quantities to accommodate demand. [More...]

Prohibition perpetuates the black market. It increases profits for foreign producers and suppliers of illegal substances. By contrast, legalization of marijuana in Colorado and other states has put a big crimp in profits of Mexican marijuana growers and suppliers, resulting in less production and less pot being shipped to the U.S. The War on Drugs gets everything backwards. There's a lesson here, if any lawmakers care to examine it.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Legalize Heroin. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by lentinel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 10:01:31 AM EST
    It should be available by prescription from - and/or administered by Doctors.

    One does get the sense, after all these years, that the continuation of prohibition is to the advantage of intrenched power - including the Federal government, local government, and local police.

    Prohibition protects no one.
    It puts people's lives in danger.

    Any attempt to legalize threatens lots of useless and costly jobs.

    Prohibition is an industry founded on hypocrisy, and now too big to let fail - just like the banks.

    A cop once said to me (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 10:23:26 AM EST
    if a person wants to spend their life staring at their shoes they will and there is no logical reason to make them steal your stereo to do it.

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lentinel on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 04:32:02 PM EST
    with the police officer's comment, but it is a wee judgmental imo.

    There are also people in pain - mental and physical.
    What is the point of denying relief to those people?

    Or to the terminally ill for heaven's sake.


    "Staring at your shoe" (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 03:21:03 PM EST
    I've seen some long term, hardcore addicts that act very "normal" and conduct their day-to-day business quite efficiently once they've had their dose.

    The suffering incurred by addiction has much more to do with the social Darwinist, Free Market meat grinder-pressure cooker that runs 24/7 in this country than it does with "the toll drugs take on individuals and families" yadda yadda.      


    Related (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 03:33:57 PM EST
    I was watching 30 for 30 about a college phenom, Chris Herren, who was a heroin addict.  At half time he would go out in the parking lot and shoot up, which according to him, improved his game.

    It eventually got the better of him, but the grind of failed drug tests and the law, is what started the downward spiral that eventually left him on the street.  He was a functioning junkie for years, playing at a level most can only dream of, professional sports star.

    One has to wonder how many people fail because the system fails them rather than their own behavior. No saying drug use isn't their behavior, but when a guy can be high as a kite on the court and go to the pros, only to be tossed for failing tests and altercations with the law in regards to drugs, it's hard to say the drugs did it rather than the system that crucified him.


    The preoccupations and whims (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 03:47:44 PM EST
    of major shareholders have sucked the soul out of this country more efficiently and thoroughly than any cutthroat cartel or dealer ever could..

    The neighborhood drug dealers are getting to be like the new Clara Bartons tending to the wounded. Albeit not quite as selflessly..


    I've known a quite a few junkies (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 04:29:50 PM EST
    crack heads, etc.  sure.  There are functional ones.  I've known some.  They are the minority.  Most do a lot of shoe staring.  That's a fact..

    I'm not condemning or judging them for it but to imagine most junkies are functional, in the general sense of that word, is unrealistic at best.  Not to mention the sports stat referenced above.  And sadly even the functional ones I've known,  the woman I lived with for years in NY that I mentioned yesterday for example, eventually crash and burn.   And either die or go into rehab.


    They are All Functional... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 05:00:55 PM EST
    ...at some point, the only difference is how long, and I did mention the guy landed on the street, which had he just washed out of sports would not have happened.

    There are a lot of functioning addicts who never crash and burn.  IMO the difference is that moment when a decision needs to be made and they choose drugs over a major responsibility, like work.  I have no idea what the numbers are, but from my personal experience, 50/50, but most of the addicts I know/knew were liquor and/or blow.  I don't know anyone who uses heroin or meth on a regular basis.

    I was in no way promoting hard drug usage, and while some can handle it, most cannot.


    I understand (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 05:09:08 PM EST
    meth and heroin, both of which I love, are whole different animals.  Crack too.  They really are.  I agree that the sentences for crack and powder coke were unfairly different.  That said, having done both, I can tell you they are as different as night and day.

    I am one of those very lucky people who has been able to dabble in evey thing without going down the tubes.  In my life I have learned that is a somewhat rare talent.  Part of it was maturing in the flowering of the gay drug culture.  Those guys function.  They have good jobs and mortgage payments and suck up drugs like an organic vaccume cleaner.  I learned how to do it from very good teachers.


    Funny drug story (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 05:28:36 PM EST
    back in the 80s in NY some friends (5 friends) and I decided to do a benefit party for a sick friend. We were all circuit boys well known to the circuit so the guest list was no problem.  Two of our group were party producers one was a well known DJ.  we got a warehouse for free.  Walked in on sat morning about 9 am to an epic mess beyond belief.  We cleaned an decorated the place.  We are talking thousands of sq feet.  Danced for 14 hours and then cleaned the place on Sunday afternoon and evening.  Finishing around midnight Sunday and we were all at work on Monday.   After counting we had made almost 16000 bucks for our friend but the funniest number was when Rolf, the DJ and dealer told us we (5) had done about 4500 bucks worth of drugs (Considered part of the budget and our "pay") that weekend.  We all slept deeply Monday night.  

    I learned from professionals.


    I've also had friends (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 05:24:02 PM EST
    With serious alcohol/coke problems - some more functional than others, but it's certainly not that uncommon to be a functioning addict.

    Heroin is a whole different ball game.  Not saying it's not possible - but it's the exception.

    Alcohol and coke are also much less likely to kill you outright.  I'm not saying those people may not have heart/liver problems down the line - or that some people don't die of alcohol poisoning/cocaine overdoses - but I know a lot more people with those problems and none of them are dead before 30.

    I probably know about a dozen people with heroin problems - and 3 of them were dead before 30.


    Adding (none / 0) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 04:47:49 PM EST
    some of the most brilliant and creative people I've ever known were junkies.   They even go through periods of epic bursts of productivity, perhaps like the sports star.  Then they crash and burn.   Sometimes they come back.  Sometimes they don't.

    for the people in my life (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 03:40:40 PM EST
    who have had heroin problems - and that number is bigger than it should be - only one of them had problems with the law/court.

    3 of them ended up in coffins, one was routinely in and out of rehab and jobs because he was caught stealing or dysfunctional at work, he fucked up relationships with friends and family, and is now slowly getting back on his feet basically because he fell in love with someone worth living for.  The one who had problems with the law was because they robbed someone.  Heroin isn't even that expensive - it's just that they weren't functional enough to support themselves.

    If you are a professional sports star it's probably easier to be a drug addict because you have natural talents that are worth something valuable.  Not that you can't also be functional.  For those who aren't sports stars it is a much harder life, and not just because of John Law.


    Don't forget (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Zorba on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 10:48:48 AM EST
    The prison-industrial complex.  With more and more prisons being run by private companies, those companies want to ensure that they have a continuing supply of prisoners, because that's the way they make more money.
    And they use some of that money to pressure the politicians.

    There is a heroin epidemic (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 02:02:58 PM EST
    in this part of the country right now - but one thing they've been getting right is treating it as a major public health crisis rather than a legal crisis.  For example - they've made the anti-overdose drug available to friends and family of addicts and are equipping first responders with it as well.

    I'm honestly not 100% sure what the right response to this is - I don't necessarily agree that we should just say "screw it - give them what they want" when people become heroin addicts.  A lot of people need treatment too.  I don't think you should be forced into it necessarily but there needs to be some kind of funnel beyond selling it at dispensaries like you do in CO with pot.

    Heroin: (none / 0) (#6)
    by sj on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 05:53:19 PM EST
    It's not just for addicts.

    There is actually an appropriate use of heroin in palliative care. But we so fear heroin addiction that we prefer to let our terminally suffer unnecessarily at the end of their lives.


    And if we really cared (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 06:04:43 PM EST
    about "humane executions" it would be used for that.

    How so? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jack203 on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 09:50:34 PM EST
    Just curious

    They are having all this trouble (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 09:53:21 PM EST
    finding drugs that will do the job without horrific side effects, that is even if they work.

    Very easy to kill someone with Heroin.  And I would imagine quite painless.


    From an article last year (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 09:56:27 PM EST
    Most people die from heroin overdoses when their bodies forget to breathe.

    "Heroin makes someone calm and a little bit sleepy, but if you take too much then you can fall asleep, and when you are asleep your respiratory drive shuts down," said Dr. Karen Drexler, director of the addiction psychiatry residency training program and an associate professor in Emory University's psychiatry and behavioral sciences department.

    "Usually when you are sleeping, your body naturally remembers to breathe. In the case of a heroin overdose, you fall asleep and essentially your body forgets."

    Those who are in re-hab are (none / 0) (#11)
    by MKS on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 12:59:38 AM EST
    at high risk of overdose.   After someone stops using, their tolerance level goes down.  But an addict who relapses may go back to the old dose when his or her body had built up a higher tolerance.   Big dose, low tolerance leads to overdose...

    Many overdoses happen (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 03:28:49 PM EST
    because users aren't fully aware of the potency of the heroin they're using and also because users, if they feel withdrawl symptoms coming on and haven't been able to score yet, will take something else other than heroin to take the edge off, so that when they score later, they're taking heroin on top of another drug or even alcohol.

    agree (none / 0) (#12)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 01:46:03 PM EST
    I guess I'm just saying that heroin should stay within the healthcare umbrella - whether it's treatment for pain, or addiction, or end of life care, or whatever.

    I don't think you should just be able to walk into a dispensary and get heroin the way you can get pot in Colorado.

    That being said - we also need to be very careful about using heroin in cases that aren't terminal.  Prescription opiates are a pretty serious gateway.

    I also am not willing to just write-off the massive explosion in heroin addicts as  "something that just happens and we have to accept".  I've already lost 3 former classmates to heroin overdoses, and "lost" a few more to addiction.  It's so cheap and so addictive, and incredibly easy to overdose from.  The number of overdoses from heroin in MA have almost doubled in the last 5 years.  It's a public health crisis.


    As you pointed out (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 02:03:04 PM EST
    that fact that it's illegal does not stop anyone from using.  Don't you think that if it was brought out of the shadows and there was an effort to educate people there might actually be fewer deaths?

    right (none / 0) (#14)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 02:07:57 PM EST
    I'm not for a police response to this.  I think it needs to be a public health response.  But I don't think it should be "legalized" the way I think pot should be "legalized" where you walk into a store, show an ID and buy it - it should be out of the shadows but still within the healthcare framework where you can get channeled to treatment/support/etc..., if that makes sense.

    I guess I'm saying I don't really feel like we need to educate people about the dangers of pot or worry about it being sold in the open.  We do have to do that for heroin.  And I just think it's important to distinguish the two "legalization" efforts.  One I think should be straight-up legal, the other decriminalized but much more highly controlled/regulated.


    Either option... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 12:17:50 PM EST
    would be better than the current prohibition...but I tend to agree that the pharmacy model is better suited to heroin than the alcohol model.  As long as the criminal justice angle is removed, we could come up with a delivery system that makes sense for public health and personal freedom.

    I always thought that was so strange (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 10:44:22 AM EST
    But remember when my grandparents were in home hospice there was a final stage medication we were told to only use when pain became intolerable...because it could kill them and there was "no turning back" once we started using it, they were going to become addicted.  Just weird, very weird concern, and if you have family members who are freakish about addiction, would that end up increasing your pain that you suffer?

    My grandmother ended up that way. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:13:58 PM EST
    She wouldn't take the morphine until the last couple of days.

    I suppose we want to be clear headed too (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:18:50 PM EST
    For as long as we can.  It is a process of saying goodbye.  

    Personally (none / 0) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 01:20:59 PM EST
    if I come to that my only problem will be with any limitis imposed.

    So you're going to make us a nice farewell (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:03:41 PM EST
    Video that we are free to play over and over again, and you're joining a different mile high club?

    my dad says (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:48:54 PM EST
    if there ever comes a point where he needs to be in a nursing home/hospice care, we should buy him a junker and he'll drive it over a cliff.

    I don't think he's kidding.  So I like to give him a hard time about the potential environmental impacts of abandoning a car at the bottom of a cliff :)


    Honestly I feel the same way (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 06, 2015 at 02:52:48 PM EST
    whi h was really what I meant by that comment.  I have seen to many people waste away.  Won't happen to me.  My biggest fear is that I might end up like my father.  To sick and disabled to do it himself and no one willing to help him.  That's my idea of hell.