Croperadication Difficulties

Conceptual, political, and technical arguments are often raised against drug-crop eradication. Opponents of eradication believe that the reduction of foreign supplies of illicit drugs is probably not achievable, or short-term at best; they say that even if eradication had a longer-term impact in the source country, it would not have a meaningful effect on levels of illicit-drug consumption in the United States, where the consumer would simply switch to other available drugs. Moreover, some fear that inordinate environmental damage will result from herbicide use. Others question whether a global policy of crop control is feasible politically, because many growing areas are far beyond government control, and even when there is government jurisdiction, crop eradication becomes impractical because the grower can continually shift areas of cultivation. Instituting effective eradication efforts in some source countries, such as Peru, might also drive political insurgents (who co-locate with the drug traffickers) into threatening alliances that would undermine the central govenment even further. Finally, some question the value of supply-reduction efforts at the source altogether, since world production and supply of illicit drugs vastly exceed world demand. If the worldwide supply were reduced dramatically, it would not be felt in the United States until the supply had dried up throughout the rest of the world, because U.S. consumers often pay higher prices than those in any other market; moreover, U.S. dollars are the preferred narco-currency (Perl, 1988).

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