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Are we winning the war on drugs?

22nd Feb 2021

Are we winning the war on drugs? Are we getting what we need out of our spending to combat the violent drug trade?

Yes, yes, and yes. Let’s say that.

We’re spending more money fighting the drug war than ever before, yet the violence on both sides is increasing.

“There is a vicious, shifting calculus in global drug policy,” reports Peter Bergen, a vice president at the New America Foundation who also leads the group’s National Security Studies Program. I came across this topic while reading up about the favourite PayPal casino UK gamers spend a good chunk of their time on, with an option to donate some small change to the fight against drugs.

But what about America’s push to limit some drug crimes? That is a step in the right direction, right?

Not exactly, argues Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: “Instead of shutting down the brutal Mexican drug cartels we should spend less time fighting American heroin addicts, and more time blowing up truck drivers who smuggle the poison across the Mexican border.”

Another reporter, Charles Lewis, sums up how we should spend our money on the war against drugs.

“More emphasis, more money should be put into programs to treat drug-related illnesses and destitution,” he says, “not to escalate an unpopular war.”

Think of it: When it comes to drug crime, are we making progress, or not?

That’s the debate over the new documentary “Operation Mortal Chance.”

Filmmaker Chris Smith, who directed the acclaimed “Taxi to the Dark Side,” has told us that he intended to make a film that “would take a solemn look at the drug war and show people what’s really happening.”

He also says: “The film is a very personal story about two families.”

Yes, and that is what makes “Operation Mortal Chance” different from many other films on this contentious subject.

The filmmakers make the distinction between illegal drug offenses, which are already severely limited by the U.S. government, and the murders of the children of illegal drug users. Smith says: “There is an enormous amount of collateral damage in the war on drugs.”

“The film,” he goes on, “is about a bunch of ordinary people trying to do their best in a world they know has made no positive progress in decades.”

It’s also a very personal film.

Smith first met Oliver Martinez and Bridget Murphy in 2006. That year, Martinez, a cab driver in Yonkers, N.Y., was killed in a shooting. The driver who killed him was under arrest for drug trafficking.

Murphy was shocked: “I realised I’m living in a world where children are being killed,” she says, “and no one wants to do anything about it.”

So she decided to go to Mexico and try to see what the hell was going on. And she found out: “The war on drugs is actually destroying the homes and lives of innocent people.”

The murder of the children of illegal drug users has been at least a norm for decades. The media have documented it. The politicians have reported it. But until recently, we never had the actual stories of the mothers and fathers of those children.

The death of Murphy’s second-oldest son, Alexander, at age 10 was one of the final stories that motivated Murphy.

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