If just a small fraction of the money spent each year on drug-related law enforcement globally -- about $100 billion per year -- was re-directed towards drug-related health and social services, countless lives would be saved.
Currently, at least 125 million people use marijuana, 14 million people use amphetamines, 12 million people use opioids, and 14 million people use cocaine. Illegal drugs have a plethora of negative impacts.
Despite aggressive policies and enforcement actions against every link in the chain of producers, distributors and users, the illicit trade has become more prolific than ever, exacting a painful toll on every area of society it touches.
The U.S. Treasury Department's recent designation of "Chepe" Handal as a key Honduran drug kingpin represents a boon for efforts to dismantle narco-trafficking networks in Honduras dominated by Mexico's Sinaloa and Zetas cartels.
It is time to use the full weight of the United States government to bring an end to the drug activity in Venezuela, and protect the beleaguered opposition which it is now clear is simply being silenced and sidelined by a criminal government.
Latin America presents enormous opportunities for the U.S. in terms of economic and political cooperation, but we continue to squander these opportunities as we squabble among ourselves over issues like immigration and drug policies.
These countries are pleading with the international community for cooperation and real solutions. Not only is legalization a nonstarter for them, it is insulting to them that we think their problems could be solved by such a policy.