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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seventeen Patients Killed in Drug Rehabilitation Center Shooting

Nobody is safe on the front line in the war on drugs in Mexico, nor in the United States. Tensions still run high despite the recent legalization of drugs in Mexico, on September 3rd, 17 patients were killed and two others were wounded in a drug rehabilitation center shooting in northern Mexico. Ciudad Juarez, a city in northern Mexico, has been the epicenter of the drug war, whose death toll has been literally "through the roof". It's a tragedy when people who are trying to better their lives by checking themselves into drug treatment centers find themselves still caught in the middle of this conflict. What will it take for people to be rid of the tyranny in Mexico? How long can the killings continue before the people of Mexico become tired and can't take it anymore demanding real change?

According to CNN, "Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz said authorities believe a rival drug gang attacked the men at the El Aviane rehab facility. At the very least, it was one organized crime group thinking that another group was operating in that place," Reyes told CNN. Juarez this year has had a staggering number of murders with a death toll of more than 1,420 people. This number will only increase before the year's end and most likely surpass last year's count of 1600 people. According to a Mexican Civic Group, Ciudad Juarez has had more murders per capita than any other city in the world. With a population of roughly 1.5 million people, that's 130 killings per 100,000 people was seen in a report released last week by the Mexican Citizens Council for Public Security; compared to New Orleans, which had more killings than any other city in the United States, who had 64 killings to every 100,000 people in 2008.

The constant war to control drug trade routes into the United States between the two major cartels in Mexico has brought about such a high murder rate. However, control of the trafficking routes is not the only cause for the spike in murders. "An unprecedented wave of violence has washed over Mexico since Calderon declared war on drug cartels shortly after coming into office in December 2006. More than 11,000 people have since died, about 1,000 of them police", said CNN. Many of the recent murders have been in retaliation to the "so-called" offensive, which sadly has been quite ineffective. The La Familia Michoacana drug cartel and its rival Sinaloa cartel are believed to be responsible for most of the violence seen in the last few years in northern Mexico.

We are very fortunate that drug treatment facilities in the U.S. are safe places to begin the journey into recovery. Nevertheless, America is a large part of the equation regarding the extensive murders in Mexico. Mexico fuels our insatiable need for drugs, it can not be stressed enough how crucial the United States is to finding a solution to the drug war in Mexico. If we are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem and it is clear that we have been part of the latter for too long. As it is, right now, the cartels are clearly in control and that is unacceptable; the time has come for better days, we cannot sit by and watch this massacre continue.

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