To the editor: If it's correct that "drug cartels and gangs are at the root of the increased violence" in Central America, then buyers of illegal drugs are partly to blame for the current crisis at our border. ("Explaining the crisis on the Southwest border as children seek refuge," June 21)

Those who feel entitled to get high using illicit drugs should understand that their actions are jeopardizing the lives and well-being of people in other countries and at our border, and are fueling gang violence in the U.S.

In addition, the impact of their drug use is reflected in our over-burdened justice system, a strained healthcare system and lost productivity. And many will die an unnecessary premature death. The annual economic cost of illicit drug use in our country is estimated by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center to be about $215 billion.

Drug abusers should adopt some moral fortitude, be responsible citizens and above all let common sense prevail. Innocent people are dying because they want to take their brains for a spin. It's not a worthy cause.

Jan MacMichael, South Pasadena