Mexico's troubles are our fault

Kudos to Firmin DeBrabander for his opinion piece on the cause of the breakdown of law and order in Mexico — the insatiable desire of Americans for drugs and our inability to deal with it ("The failed state next door," Oct. 17).

In spite of spending $40 billion a year, the war on drugs has been a miserable failure. We continue to pursue this failed policy which drains our public money, claims the lives of addicts and their crime victims day after day and drives desperate Mexicans across the border to seek refuge, only to be sent back to the horrors they risked their lives to escape. When we will realize that criminalizing drug use hasn't worked any better than criminalizing alcohol, our drug of choice?

Drug treatment has been shown to be 10 times more effective than interdiction at stopping drug use. If drugs were legalized, we would put the cartels out of business. We could control the distribution of drugs, tax them, and use the tax money for treatment programs.

Not since Kurt Schmoke has any political leader had the courage to propose drug legalization. It's time we pulled our heads out of the sand and tried a new approach to a problem that ruins countless lives and drains our public coffers.

Karen Meyers, Towson

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