Last updated: August 24, 2019
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How the Drug Culture in Mexico Has Corrupted Its Youth The topic I have chosen to address is the drug culture in Mexico. I will aim to answer the question: how has the drug culture in Mexico corrupted its youth? The geography of Mexico has contributed greatly to it becoming a drug trafficking hot spot. Mexico is located in the middle of the world’s largest consumer and producer of cocaine.

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine and Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine. Drug cartels have taken advantage of this location and control many different areas in Mexico.In Mexico the most powerful Cartels are based in the north. The reason for this is to establish control over points of entry to the United States, which as I have stated above is the world’s largest cocaine consumer. The most disturbing action of the cartels in recent history is their recruitment of youth.

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The new recruitment is a reaction to the arrests and killing of cartel members by Mexican officials under President Felipe Calderon. To explain how the drug culture in Mexico negatively impacts Mexican youth I will examine drug use among Mexican teens and possible causes of this drug use.I will examine some of the possible causes of drug use among Mexican teens including violence in the home and community and victimization. Benjet, Corina, Borges, Guilherme, Medina-Mora, Maria Elena, Fleiz, Clara, Joaquin, Zambrano, Rojas, Estela and Ramirez, Miriam “Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Correlations of Drug Use Among Adolescents: Results from the Mexican Adolescent Mental Health Survey. ” Society for the Study of Addiction Journal 102. 8 (2007): 1261-1268.

This article chronicles the “Mexican Adolescent Mental Health Survey” performed in 2005.The test subjects were youth ranging in age form 12-17 and who resided within Mexico City. The study found that there was an increased use of drugs among adolescents within the last ten years. The study also found that the age of consumption for marijuana and cocaine decreased over the same time period. “More than half of those who have used at some time in their life have continued to use in the previous 12 months, with a similar proportion of those continuing to use multiple types of drugs”(Benjet, Borges, Medina-Mora, Fleiz, Blanco, Zambrano, Rojas & Ramirez 1263). Continued drug use’ is the especially disturbing portion of the statement.

The article goes on to say that the most commonly used drugs include stimulants as well as marijuana. The study also states that teens with healthy environments, (an example of this would be active parents), had “64% less odds of drug use” (Benjet, Borges, Medina-Mora, Fleiz, Blanco, Zambrano, Rojas & Ramirez 1264). This statement reinforces that environment has a large part in drug prevention among Mexican youth. The study that was conducted was on a volunteer basis.The information in the study was also volunteered information that consisted of content concerning unlawful actions. The article admits that as a result of these circumstances the statistics provided “may lead to an underestimation in prevalence” (Benjet, Borges, Medina-Mora, Fleiz, Blanco, Zambrano, Rojas and Ramirez, 1266).

This statement indicates that drug use by youth in Mexico may be higher than reported in this study. This indicates that it may be a larger problem and deserves even more attention than is already allocated towards the problem. Booth, William and Fainaru, Steve.

In Mexico, Fears of a Lost Generation. ” Washington Post. 3 November 2009, A6. This article examines a new era in Mexican drug cartels.

The cartels are now recruiting Mexican youth into service more than ever before. The jobs that the youth are expected to perform range from drug trafficking to contracted killings. “In the past year, 134 minors have been killed in drug related violence in Juarez, according to El Diario, a local news paper. ”(Booth and Fainaru 1) This is only the death toll from one town and should be taken as a small sample of what is occurring in the rest of the country.According to this article the young dealers employed by the cartels operate in unlicensed addiction treatment facilities. Essentially the cartels are targeting already troubled youth at a very vulnerable time.

“Mexican officials and youth advocates said they fear that the rampant criminality is producing a generation that venerates cartel barons and views trafficking as a form of rebellion—as well as an escape from poverty. ” (Booth and Fainaru 2) This quote is an example of the cartel praying on the weak and disenfranchised. It is very easy for a young person to view criminal activity as a viable source of income when no other options are resented to them. The authors of this article carefully describe how the strength of the cartel is exploited and used to recruit youth that have no other options. Burnett, John. “Mexican Drug Cartels Recruiting Young Men, Boys.

” 1 December 2009. This article largely focuses on Juarez, Mexico and the immense at-risk youth in the region. The article states that a growing number of youth are being recruited by the drug cartels in Mexico. The report talks about a group of young men who live at “The School of Social Betterment for Miners. The description compares the school to a juvenile detention center in America.

The article says, “This is where the city sends its bad boys” (Burnett 1). An interview is conducted with some of the residents at the school. One of the topics covered is Sicaritos.

The definition of Sicaritos is “children who are assassins, 13 or 14 years old” (Burnett 1). This city is a perfect center for recruitment of teenagers for the cartels because 1 out of every 3 children never attends middle school. This is an example of how the drug culture in Mexico is negatively affecting Mexican youth.One of the reasons that the phenomenon of cartel youth recruitment is more prevalent in Juarez is the lack of services provided by the government to the population of Juarez.

“The city can’t accommodate its 1. 3 million residents. There aren’t nearly enough public schools, parks or youth programs” (Burnett 2).

The lack of programs provided for youth is one of the major causes of the void that the cartels have unfortunately filled in the troubled youth’s lives. Floyd, Leah J. , Latimer, William W. , Vasquez, Marco B.

S. , O’Brien, Megan, “Substance Use among School-Based Youths in Northern Mexico. American Journal on Addictions 2005: 464-470. This article chronicles the findings from a study performed in northern Mexico.

The study focused on levels of drug use detected in youth who are attending schools in Mexico. A survey was given to 1,238 high school and middle school students.The survey measured use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana among these students. The survey found that substance abuse had grown among Mexican youth over the last two decades. This information coupled with the information given by the study documented in the article above adds up to almost three decades of growth for Mexican youth’s drug use.

Northern Mexican border-states continue to have high rates” (Floyd, Latimer, Vasquez, O’Brien, 468). The northern Mexican border-states are also those with the most cartel control. The study concludes with an emphasis on the importance on early intervention. “Mexico.

” The World Fact Book. Central Intelligence Agency. 1 December 2009. This is a website that has drug facts about every relevant country in the world. The first country I would like to touch on is Mexico. Mexico “continues as the primary transshipment country for US-bound cocaine movements toward the US stopping in Mexico” (14).This simple fact is one of the largest reasons that the cartels in Mexico are so powerful.

Mexico is also listed as the largest out-of-country provider of marijuana as well as methamphetamine to the United States. To establish the route that cocaine, or coca, takes I also consulted the statistics provided by this article for Colombia. Colombia is the “worlds leading coca cultivator” (5). The article goes on to state that Colombia potentially produces 535 mt. of pure cocaine. I also examined the statistics from the United States which said “the United States is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine”(25).

The article continues on to explain that the majority of the world’s cocaine, or its simple form coca, is grown or produced in Colombia, transported to Mexico and from there in to the United States. “Organized Crime in Mexico. ” Stratfor Global Intelligence. 11 March 2008. 1 December 2009. This article focuses on the drug cartels in Mexico and how the geography of Mexico creates an environment for the drug cartels to exist and thrive. “Mexico’s location between the world’s largest producer and the world’s largest consumer of cocaine makes it a natural transshipment point for narcotics” (3).

This geographical location is what makes Mexico the natural choice for drug transit into the U. S. which the article says is the largest consumer of cocaine. I also confirmed this fact on the Central Intelligence Agency website. The Article goes on to state that the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico are located in northern Mexico. This is also where the highest drug use among Mexican youth exists. The article estimates that the amount of illegal drugs that pass through Mexico is worth $25- $30 billion annually.This article also contains the map below which shows the path of the drug trade as well as the controlling drug cartels in Mexico and South America.

( See map below. ) Ramos-Lira, Luciana, Gonzalez-Forteza, Catalina and Wagner, Fernando A. “Violent Victimization and Drug Involvement Among Mexican Middle School Students. ” The American Journal on Addictions 2006: 850- 856.

The author describes a study which focuses on determining the relationship between unfair treatment, violence and drug use. This study consists of data collected form two different schools. Both of these schools were located in downtown Mexico City.

Among the students who used drugs violence was also a common occurrence. Violence in the home was also found to go hand and hand with drug use. It was also found that students who experienced violence had a higher occurrence of availability to drugs. The actions of the Mexican drug cartels have included both violence as well as distribution of drugs. The study suggests that the environment that is created by the drug culture in Mexico creates both the opportunity as well as state of mind for drugs to become a negative influence on the lives of Mexico’s youth, whether it be through participation in drug distribution or drug use.The study found that among the students that used drugs violence was also common.

Of the students who used drugs “59. 6% reporting life-time violent victimization” (Ramos-Lira, Gonzalez-Forteza & Wagner 851). This study offers more evidence that the violent drug culture in Mexico has perpetuated drug use among youth. This study also suggests that not only do drugs and violence go hand in hand but that one can be caused by the other. Conclusion Through my research I can now better understand why Mexico is a chief drug trafficking country in the world.I have also come to understand the prominent presence of the cartel in many towns and cities across Mexico. The studies that explore violent victimization and drug use among teenagers are even more evidence that the drug cartels must be stopped. The unfortunate fact is that the simple geography of Mexico creates an environment where drug trafficking is very profitable.

An example of how the drug culture in Mexico has corrupted its youth can be seen in the increase in drug abuse among teenagers in the past three decades. Another example is the recruitment of young boys by the cartel. Clearly this subject deserves further study.