Drugs Inc. – An at times brutal view of the drug trade


Life with Netflix Streaming is never dull. As they increase their library, and more importantly, improve their algorithms for matching what I would like, I get some great recommendations. One such recommendations is a show on the National Geographic Channel called Drugs Inc.

Netflix is missing the first season, but I practically binged on the two seasons that are available. In a nutshell, it is a behind the scenes view of the narcotics trade from production, transportation, trafficking, and a look on the users and communities that are the end users.

Taking on the production, often in third world countries with little infrastructure, the promise of money is very tempting indeed. Then the transportation to the markets (almost all in the west) trafficking using ingenious methods in a cat-and-mouse with the authorities, and finally to the distribution and consumption.

A fair look at all aspects, and amazing access to the practitioners of each phase, it is a real eye opener.

The one thing that they portray well is the misery of the end users. One episode on Los Vegas starts with an older gentleman living in a LV flophouse on his army pension, who panhandles every day for the $80 – $100 his crack habit demands. It is hard to not feel sorry for the end users, the addicts.

Drugs Inc. provides a very fair view of the whole supply chain, and doesn’t pull any punches. It causes you to think about the long war on drugs, and how the actions to criminalize use, production, and distribution have lead to the creation of brutal cartels, and organized crime.

You would think that the lessons learnt from the experiment of Prohibition would resonate, but alas, the folks in power choose to escalate the conflict, when the real tragedy is the broken lives of the addicts.

Like with prohibition, and indeed all markets, if there is demand, someone will provide a product.

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By geoffand

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November 2014

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