Monday, January 05, 2015

Meth Balloon Effect

We've all heard of the balloon effect with cocaine production, whereby squeezing one country (say, Bolivia) pushes production toward another country (say, Colombia). Anti-narcotics policy therefore "succeeds" in one place but makes things a lot worse somewhere else. Apparently that is now the case with Mexico and meth.

Starting in 2006, in the United States required you have an ID check to buy pseudoephedrine products, which people had been buying in bulk to produce meth. Therefore it's now being produced in Mexico and then smuggled into the United States.

Seizures of methamphetamine soared at the U.S.-Mexico border during fiscal 2014, accelerating a trend that began several years ago as new laws that limited access to the drug’s chemical ingredients made it harder to manufacture it in the United States. 
Meth seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego field office accounted for nearly two-thirds — 63 percent — of all the meth seized at all ports of entry nationwide in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reported Sunday.
Almost all of the meth consumed in the United States was once manufactured domestically, with San Diego as a known production hub. 
But a crackdown in the United States on the precursor chemicals used to make the synthetic drug has pushed its manufacture south of the border, where drug cartels find it cheaper and easier to produce and smuggle over the border than cocaine from South America, the paper reported.

The history of U.S.-Latin American relations is awash with unintended consequences. What happened here is that U.S. law is having the effect of expanding a problem geographically.


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