In a recent interview with National Geographic, author Roberto Saviano spoke about the extensive research he did while writing his 2013 hit book ZeroZeroZero, all about the runaway global trade of cocaine. He emphasizes the dangers and horrors involved in the trade, the responsibility that America must take for its’ demand of the drug, and why he believes that legalization is the only solution for a culture steeped in destruction. Below are a few of the most important points Saviano makes about the cocaine trade:

  1. It reaches everyone. The effects of cocaine use are widespread, and affect many people who don’t believe it has anything to do with them. In addition to the many players who are involved with cocaine production, smuggling, and associated commerce, the money exchanged through the coke industry has come into contact with so many parts of the legal economy. One sobering statistic he cites is that the US ‘consumes 25% of all drugs worldwide’, which should serve as a wake-up call for our own policies.
  2. Mexico is in a huge mess. Though Colombia was the previous center of major drug trades, especially cocaine, in recent years Mexico has moved from being a step along the transport route to the US, to a major distributor. Because of their increased ties to the cocaine industry, there have been extraordinary levels of violence along with it. Drug traders have taken advantage of their proximity to the US border to force their wares into the country, a well-known fact that often overshadows all conversations about border issues.
  3. El Chapo is as famous as he is infamous. For many poor people, notorious drug lord ‘El Chapo’ represents an almost mythic figure that was able to rise from nothing to command immense power. El Chapo, who just recently escaped from a maximum security prison through a series of elaborate tunnels fit for an action movie, has also pulled off immense levels of money laundering, and is sometimes seen as a Robin Hood figure who subsidizes so many living in destitute poverty.
  4. The violence is horrifying. For every story of a ‘Robin Hoodnarco’ using drug funds to help the poor, there are so many more relaying terrible tales of extreme violence, murder, and torture. Los Zetas, one of the prominently violent groups, posts gruesome videos to YouTube of their decapitations and killings, trying to reach as many people as possible with their cruelties.
  5. Prohibition doesn’t work, so we have to legalize. Drugs are packed full with individual drug users and small time dealers, but the major traffickers of illegal drugs tend to get away with their crimes. While there is not much serious discussion advocating for the complete legalization of all forms of narcotics, Saviano believes that starting a strong conversation on how to regulate drug traffic in a way that doesn’t fuel violence and fund the killers is the only way to quench the tides of suffering that come from the cocaine trade as it stands today.

What an Insider Look at the Cocaine Trade Tells us about Treatment

Cocaine has devastating effects on those who are addicted to it, but fortunately treatment is possible.  If you or a loved one are in the grips of this substance, contact us at here at the Discovery Institute to start on the road to recovery: 1-800-714-2175.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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