Drugs and Conflict
The production and movement of illicit drugs is closely connected with violence. As criminal gangs and so-called drug ‘cartels’ attempt to secure trafficking routes, move drugs, and consolidate and expand territories of control, they regularly clash with rival organisations and with the state. At the same time, many security forces have been shown to be linked with traffickers, and violent responses to the trafficking and production of drugs often provide the spark for horrendous levels of violence; as demonstrated in Mexico since 2006. In both cases, it is the population who suffer. Drug production often takes place in insecure areas, including war zones - almost the entire world’s heroin production occurs in a country at war. While violence and conflict have many sources, too often the drugs issue serves as a catchall to simplify complex conditions, ignoring the underlying factors that drugs can serve to inflame rather than create. This project focuses on analysing the interplay between drugs and violent conflict, on bringing context to the debate, and on advocating strategies that combat violence with the concern for human rights and a reduction in the level of harm caused.