Medical News & Perspectives |

Mexican Drug Violence Intertwined With US Demand for Illegal Drugs

Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2009;302(5):482-483. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1108.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Virtually every week brings reports of the latest episodes of drug-related violence in Mexico that has claimed the lives of thousands over the past few years. To rein in these violent eruptions, the Mexican government has deployed its military and police to fight the major drug cartels that control the lucrative distribution networks that bring illegal drugs into the United States.

But some experts say that the trafficking of illegal drugs, like all businesses, is one of both supply and demand and that the demand side—those who abuse drugs—also should be targeted. These experts propose that a concerted effort to quash demand by making treatment for substance abuse available to those who need it would make the drug trafficking enterprise significantly less profitable.

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview


Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

Mexico's escalating drug war fills morgues in border cities with bodies awaiting autopsies. Here, bodies crowd a walk-in refrigerator in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. According to Mexican authorities, in 2008, drug violence claimed 6290 lives in Mexico, double the number from the previous year, and more than 1000 drug-related deaths were reported in the first 8 weeks of 2009 alone.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

The US government estimates that dramatic increases in the production and purity of heroin in Mexico have fueled distribution of the drug in the United States. In less than a decade, heroin production in Mexico more than doubled, from 8.8 metric tons in 1999 to 18 metric tons in 2007.



Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles
Substance use and violence among psychiatric inpatients. J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs Published online Mar 25, 2014.;