Analysis of Narconomics Interview

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America’s war on narcotic drugs has been implemented through diverse measures, such as destruction of opioid leaf farms in source countries, arresting drug cartel leaders and members, and targeting traffickers through the border U. S. – Mexico border; however, these strategies have been unsuccessful in addressing the drug problem in America as explained by Wainwrights. During an interview with Gross, Wainwrights maintains the position that the war on drugs should target the demand side rather than supply side of the drug business.

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Analysis of Quotes from the Interview

Wainwrights uses examples to justify his standpoint that America’s strategy on the war on drugs do not work. In the first instance, Wainwrights notes, “I think if you look at the way that we fight the war on drugs at the moment, all of the attention or the great majority of the attention is on the supply side of the business…What I suspect they might have more luck doing is actually looking at the demand side of the business” (Wainwright 1). Secondly, Wainwrights notes, “…people are understandably unwilling to spend money on things like prisons… But very often, actually, by economizing on things like that, you let yourself in for much, much higher costs later down the line… I mean, it’s a very, very expensive way to attack the problem” (Wainwright 1).

The two excerpts outline Wainwright’s response to the question by Gross on where, presently, is the priority in terms of efforts to ends drug trade and where do agencies spend resources. Gross presents a background analysis by explaining that a lot of resources are committed towards enforcement and the destruction of crops at source and whether that is the most feasible strategy (Gross 1). Gross is inquiring if, in Wainwright’s opinion, the model presently applied best is feasible to address and stop drug trade. In response to the question Wainwright dismisses the present model used to stop dug trade. He describes that focusing on the smuggling aspect of drug trade in not the best strategy. In fact, according to Wainwright, governments end up using significantly a lot of resources unnecessarily on programs that fail to materialize and attain their objectives of stopping drug trade.

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Wainwright supports his position effectively by citing the findings of an investigation by a think-tank mandated to scrutinize the impacts of using a million dollars to stop the consumption of cocaine in America. The taskforce concluded that using resources on drug treatment in states was a more feasible strategy compared to spending a similar amount intercepting the drug in South America. In essence, the latter strategy is effective tenfold compared to the former strategy, which is applied presently.

Another example used by Wainwright to defend his position is the effect of government control of drugs in Switzerland. The Swiss government has legalized the use of heroin, a decision that may be criticized by many individuals as being crazy; however, legalization in that context implies mandating doctors to prescribe it to addicts. The strategy is effective because addicts get heroin free of charge from their doctors. Eventually, there are low number of new addicts because the drugs are not in the streets. Instead, they are handled by the government that has powers to restrict its purchase through stricter measures. The illegal channels of supply of heroin in Switzerland has significantly been cut off and the government took control of the supply. Based on the two examples, Wainwright proposes governments’ more involvement in the drug business themselves to eliminate and restrict illegal supply. The strategy will serve to reduce new users of drugs. It will reduce demand for drugs among the population.


Wainwright criticizes efforts by governments to spend resources destroying drugs at source such as spraying coco leafs in farms in countries such as Peru. According to Wainwright, the value of drugs significantly increases down its supply chain. Destroying of intercepting, for instance, a hundred tons a drug in Mexico and reporting its cost as an equivalent at the end of the supply chain, such as in the US, does not perform much to end its trade.

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  1. Gross, Terry and Wainwright, Tom. “Narconomics’: How The Drug Cartels Operate Like Wal-Mart And McDonald’s.” 16 Feb 2016. NPR. Print. 24 June 2018.
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