November 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Mexico has a new distinction in the world of illicit drugs as Heroin has seen a six-fold increase in production from 2007-2011 making it the largest Opium producer in the World to second place Afghanistan. Previously 87% of the World’s production of Opium originated in Afghanistan in the 2004 period which contributed roughly $4 billion dollars per year to the country with a 4,500 metric tons output noted in 1999.
The farming of Opium in Mexico goes back to the early period of the 1900s when its cultivation and use were then attributed to Chinese immigrants using the substance. Following the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914 by the U.S. congress the price for opium soared. Mexico which was already involved in a revolutionary war was directing its resources to that end. So Mexican drug farmers and smugglers jumped onto the supply train supplying the American need for opium based products which was now a profitable business venture.
Up until 1926 poppy cultivation was perfectly legal in the Mexican territories and as in the U.S. opium was illegal this new road to another profitable enterprise was wide open. And the young drug cartels took notice of this by supplying the U.S. with growing quantities of this drug. There was even a bigger opium boom period after the end of World War II which only ingrained and strengthened this illicit contraband crop. As Mexico itself did not experience or see any effects of widespread drug abuse by its citizens the government even tolerated what little illicit drug production that was perceived to be occurring on Mexican soil.
Prior to and during the World War II period numerous military bases were constructed on the U.S. Mexican border which only contributed to the development and refinement of heroin distribution networks and increased ease of using new smuggling routes.
As the Mexican drug smuggling culture had grown while becoming more specialized with a captive audience just across the border the financial incentives only further fueled our unholy alliance. During the 1960’s period Mexico became a Major exporter of Marijuana and Heroin to the U.S. population. Efforts that were taken on our European counterparts smuggling operations only strengthened Mexico’s hand as in the early 1970 period they became the number 1 drug exporter. It was noted that in 1974 at least 75% of the U.S. Heroin Market was of Mexican origin.
It was not as if the United States government had not taken notice of this problem as in 1969 Mexico grabbed the dubious distinction as being the primary distributor of illicit drugs to our country.
Oil was a driving effort in this change of mind by both governments as the discovery of this black gold was discovered in southeastern Mexico. The Mexican government which could realize a profit from this cash crop in concert with the U.S. government then attempted wholesale eradication of the illicit drugs farm crops. The defoliant paraquat was used in ever-increasing amounts in trying to destroy the farmers crops of poppies and Marijuana. Yet little success was ever realized even after their crops were sprayed they just immediately harvested them for export to their northern customers, U.S. citizens. As the drug eradication program now had the unintentional effect of introducing contaminated crop byproducts into our country it was prematurely interrupted.
The Mexican farmers nevertheless took matters into their own hands moving crops to other regions where their detection would prove to be more difficult for anyone to find and destroy them.
Also these Mexican drug manufacturers only became more sophisticated, powerful and dangerous to anyone foolish enough to cross them. At least 70% of all South American cocaine passes directly through Mexico which is also the largest supplier of marijuana to the U.S. and Heroin cultivation and smuggling is growing at alarming rates.
The prices for legitimate crops of coffee and corn products has fallen with the Mexican government offering no or limited help to the effected farmers. This has only driven once legitimate farming operations to more lucrative cash crops such as Opium. Where coffee sells for 15 cents per pound Opium gum sells for $700-1200 U.S. dollars per pound which is a determining factor as to which types of crops farmers would plant.
In the year 2003 the DEA estimates Mexico generates between 3600-5000 hectares or 95,220,000 pounds on the 5000 hectares figure. The eradication efforts of the 1970s were purely for economic or more simply put dollars, yet Opium production is now larger than any oil revenue that can be found operating in Mexico.
Mexico averaged around 7.2 Metric tons or 15,873.282 lb this was in the early half of the latest decade in the 2000s. At this time this was 30% of U.S. Heroin consumption nationwide while 98% of the Heroin consumed west of the Mississippi came from Mexico.
In the latter part of the decade along with being the United States largest supplier of Marijuana, Mexico has also become the largest supplier of Heroin. As of 2009 the worldwide value of the Heroin market was placed at $55 billion dollars with some reporting it to be closer to $65 billion annually. The United States consumes somewhere around the $8 billion dollar a year mark in regards to Heroin usage.
As of 2008 America is estimated to have consumed 6% or 22 metric tons (or 48,501.697 lbs) of the Heroin produced worldwide however now Mexico is the largest exporter of this drug to our country as was reported by the American government in 2008 when they supplied data for reporting purposes.
Also in the 2008 year period Mexico saw an explosive growth in Heroin farming operations a reported 120% increase to this illicit, illegal and deadly drug trade. The resultant output was estimated to be 325 metric tons (716,502.352 lb) of raw Opium which could produce 40 metric tons (88,184.904 lbs) of Heroin.
If seizures are figured into the equation for calendar year 2008 there were 430 metric tons (947,987.727 lbs) almost 1 Trillion metric tons were produced worldwide and the industry continues to thrive even though 91 metric tons were confiscated or seized. Quite simply put this trade in an illicit drug shows no signs of slowing down along with a profit margin any CEO would proudly share with their shareholders.
In 2006 Mexico produced 130 metric tons by 2008 this had increased to 340 metric tons and who knows how much this illicit trade has increased since then as there is no data yet to be evaluated. In the U.S. about 2.1 metric tons of Heroin and Morphine were seized or 9% of the estimated annual flow or importation of these drugs. The supply of this drug is never ever going to drop unless demand for it is somehow stopped and there are no signs that this is ever going to occur.
Appearing on the horizon is a profoundly disturbing scenario for this country and its citizens. The Prescription drug epidemic is being attacked on multiple fronts with little success. However pharmaceutical manufacturers’ are coming close to perfecting tamper proof Oxycontin pill formulations. Once these new tamper-proof pills make it to the U.S. market where will Opiate addicts turn to fill their addictions? As of 2006 85% worldwide production of these drugs were consumed in the United States.
Frighteningly Heroin with its ease of availability, purity and reduced price will be a logical choice for these abusers; they are already showing this trend in various U.S. regions. Mexico will happily oblige by increasing the supply of Heroin for these new users. This could easily become a second renaissance for Heroin with an exponential increase in Heroin addicts not seen in decades.
As Heroin users primarily inject their drug explosions could be seen in AIDS and Hepatitis C among a long list of health effects.
This ongoing and possible future trend seem to pale in comparison in our worries about illegal immigration to this country. And the costs to society from drug abuse or hard drugs such as Heroin and other Opiates dwarfs any cost associated with illegal immigration.
Yet while Mexico is now our largest exporter of Heroin a deadly drug which has devastating consequences for our country and its people we are fixated on illegal immigration instead, an issue with far less of an economic impact on this nation.