Drug Use Climbs in Poorer Nations

The Wall Street Journal, 6/27/12

A decadelong expansion of the world’s developing economies has come with an unwanted side effect: Rising consumption of cocaine and other illegal drugs in some of the world’s poorest regions, a United Nations drug report released Tuesday showed…

The trend helps to explain why several Latin American leaders have taken the unusual step of questioning U.S.-backed drug-enforcement policies in effect in the region for some 40 years. In March, Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, a former general, said legalization from production to consumption should be considered as a means to blunt organized crime. In Uruguay, President José Mujica is considering a policy of legal government sales of marijuana to registered users.

To be sure, not all leaders share such views. In Mexico, the likely winner of Sunday’s presidential election, Enrique Peña Nieto, has vowed to keep pressing gangs in a drug war that has claimed some 50,000 lives in six years.

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