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Briefing paper: At a Crossroads: Drug Trafficking, Violence and the Mexican State

In this joint WOLA-BFDPP policy brief, the authors provide an overview of current and past drug policies implemented by the Mexican government, with a focus on its law enforcement efforts. It analyzes the trends in the increased reliance on the Mexican armed forces in counter-drug activities and the role that the United States government has played in shaping Mexico’s counter-drug efforts. It is argued that government responses that are dominated by law enforcement and militarization do little to address the issue in the long term and draw attention away from the fundamental reforms to the police and justice systems that are needed to combat public security problems in the country. The brief also argues that the most effective way to address drug trafficking and its related problem is through increased efforts to curb the demand for illicit drugs in the United States and Mexico.