THE BLOG
02/25/2014 10:28 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2014

Chapo and You: "Recreational" Drug Use Funds Murder, Torture and Kidnapping

What if someone offered you this deal:

Do business with me, and I promise to kidnap, torture and murder people. I'll help spread corruption and drug wars throughout Latin America, causing uncountable deaths. There'll be crime and killing all across the U.S., too. Oh, and meanwhile, your money will let me live the high life of a billionaire.

Would you take that deal?

If you're like most "recreational" drug users, you already have.

Although you may have to make a new one, because Chapo Guzman was arrested in Mazatlan on Saturday.

Chapo who? Chapo the head of the Sinoloa drug cartel, which drug authorities say supplies 80 percent or more of the marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroin used in the United States.

Chapo, the man who is so brutally violent that he makes John Gotti or Al Capone look like "absolute boy scouts," according to former DEA chief of operations Michael Braun.

And, if you use illegal drugs, Chapo, your dealer and business partner.

Unless, of course, you've carefully traced whatever you're buying to benevolent, unarmed farmers who pay their workers good wages and benefits.

Oh wait, you haven't?

Running through the history of the North American drug culture is one of the world's starkest and least-acknowledged class divides.

People with money to spare get high. If they get into trouble with the law, they can pay for lawyers. If they get addicted, they can pay for rehab.

And meanwhile, people with nothing to spare have their lives devastated.

With money, getting high looks like fun, or even mind expansion -- except of course in the odd, sad case of a celebrity who goes too far.

If you don't have money? Then you pay the real price.

But you pay it out of sight, and out of mind.

It's the blindness of privilege. Many people will boast of their refusal to buy clothing from sweat shops, food from factory farms, or coffee that isn't marked "fair trade." And then quite a few of them will light up a joint, supplied to them by Chapo Guzman -- or whoever is next in line to replace him.

Maybe, like me, you think some of our drug laws make no sense, and that drug abuse should be treated as a health problem.

But in the mean time, we have the drug economy we have, with the murder, torture and kidnapping that go with it.

And "recreational" drug use is what keeps it all going.

If you're a recreational user, pay a visit to where the street users -- and gangsters -- live, or to one of our desperate, meth-ridden rural towns. Or look up what's been happening in Mexico.

Ask yourself if that looks like recreation.

And enjoy your high.