DHS Secretary Kelly Says Reducing US Demand for Drugs Is Most Important Strategy to Stop Cartels

May 18, 2017
1:52 PM

On Thursday the State Department, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that significantly curtailing United States demand for drugs is the most important strategy to stop cartel violence in Mexico, Central America and Colombia. Kelly gave these answers near the end of a joint press conference between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Mexico Secretary of Government Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong:

The first thing we need to do, because it generates all of the problems, and that is the drug demand in the United States. And not only the drugs that are used by addicts, but the recreational use of drugs. You know, if Americans understood that playing around with drugs on a weekend for fun ultimately ends or results in the lives lost in Mexico by law enforcement and by the military, or lives lost in Colombia or Central America… if Americans understood that recreational playing around with drugs is resulting in the deaths of reporters and media people throughout the region but particularly, unfortunately in Mexico right now, police officers as they say soldiers, prosecutors, judges… if Americans that use drugs recreationally understood that and stopped doing that, that would significantly reduce the amount of drugs and consequently the amount of profits that come out of the United States. So the most important thing we can do is reduce the drug demand. We’ve never tried it. We’ve never done it. We have to develop a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in United States that involves everybody—involves professional sports, Hollywood… involves governors, mayors.. involves parents, priests… involves everybody. We can reduce the amount of drugs consumed in the United States significantly. Never go to zero but we can reduce it. But until we do, we’ll be fighting at best a neutral battle on the border. The drug traffickers are extremely agile, extremely innovative in how they do business, incredibly brutal. If you won’t take their bribes and their money kill your daughter and make their point that way. So it’s all about drug demand and drug demand reduction.