Wednesday, April 30, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Strong euro behind cocaine flows

The euro’s strength against the dollar may explain a rise in the availability of cocaine in Europe and a decline in the US, a US anti-drugs official says.

John Walters, director of US national drug control policy, said the amount of cocaine seized at the US south-western borders had declined.

The price and the purity of cocaine in US have also fallen, he said.

Meanwhile, Europe has seen a huge increase in availability as traffickers take advantage of the exchange rate.

Given that the entire drug industry is about huge profits, it should hardly be a surprise that the traffickers prefer those profits in the stronger currency.

The euro has risen by almost 20% against the dollar in the past 12 months to hit a record above $1.59. On Friday, the euro fetched $1.5825.

The euro has become an attractive currency for investors because of relatively high interest rates in the eurozone.

The US dollar, meanwhile, has suffered because of a number of factors including a slowing economy, low interest rates and problems from the credit crisis.

Of course, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, John Walters, says that the shift is the result of US and Mexican interdiction efforts (via the AP) and also points to Venezuela’s government turning a blind eye to the usage of their territory.

Beyond issues of the Euro and of US policy, the bottom line is that traffickers will take the path of least resistance and are extremely good at adapting, over time, to efforts to staunch the flow of their products. Mexico become the main route for drugs into the US as the US government got better at interdicting drugs coming from the Caribbean into Miami. While it may well be that the US and Mexican efforts are having an effect, the bottom line is that the drug cartels will find a new way to get their product to market.

It is perhaps the safest bet in the land that whatever diminution to the price and quality of cocaine entering the US will be reversed shortly. We have frequently seen blips on the drug war radar that are always touted as a sign that we are finally about to turn the corner. Yet, it never happens–and as long as people like intoxicants (and billions of dollars can be made providing them) that corner will not be turned.

Despite that fact, the US will continue to pour billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain, whilst continuing to militarize both Latin American law enforcement and our own (to the detriment of democracy all around).

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One Response to “More Signs of the Weak Dollar (More Tales from the Drug War)”

  1. Jim Stephens Says:

    For those of us in the addiction and recovery field, we hear the latest rant by John Walters, and are left wondering whether he’s delusional on the drug issue specifically, or just insane in general.

    The Drug “Czar” has blamed marijuana smokers for creating political turmoil and government assassinations in Mexico, for indirectly supporting the Taliban, and for fueling the growth of cocaine cartels in Columbia. At his present pace, I suspect six months from now, Mr. Walters will have formed a solid correlation between illicit drugs and the reason we can’t confirm or deny the existence of Bigfoot, or get a decent sonar reading on the Loch Ness Monster.

    But the truth is, John Walters is neither delusional or insane. In the vernacular of hard-core politics, Mr. Walters is a “message force multiplier,” which is a nice euphemism for “highly paid liar with a ten ton agenda.”

    His job is to go out and keep selling the exact “war on drugs message” his administration wants sold, because there’s tens of billions at stake annually. They know very well that while drug policy reform makes a lot of sense, it doesn’t make a lot of money for the people who are benefiting from the Draconian drugs laws that now prevail.

    Luckily, public opinion is changing, albeit at a glacial pace. But slowly but surely, the average person is finding a few moments every now and then to tear themselves away from American Idol or Oprah to realize that the “war on drugs” has done more to reduce the quality of life for the average citizen than any other piece of social policy in history.

    For now, we can only guess how we could have improved society had we not washed hundreds of billions of dollars down the “war on drugs” drain.

    And I wouldn’t look for any change in the next year or so either. As the recession fully kicks in, you can rest assured that somehow the noble Drug Czar will connect that to illicit drugs as well, because it’s all in the name of the “war on drugs.” And as a wise Greek said many years ago, “In war – truth is the first casualty.”

    Jim Stephens
    Chief Information Officer
    All Positive Options

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