Why The Mexican Drug War Is So Violent

The Mexican drug war has brought about a culture of crime and violence that has rarely been seen in the world. Some estimates indicate that as many as 50,000 people have died as a result of this violence in the last 6 years alone. These figures include criminals, law enforcement, public officials and innocent civilians – women and children not excluded. However, the violent state of the Mexican drug war has become such a regular part of today’s media reporting that most people pay little attention and simply accept the exceedingly violent state of the problem.

One of the most significant reasons that the war on drugs in Mexico is so violent is because there are a number of large, well organized and equipped rival gangs. These gangs are constantly battling for resources and territory, and many innocent people have been slaughtered in the crossfire. Additionally, these gangs will often discourage collaboration with rival gangs or authorities by killing local people as a warning. In fact, there have been so many killings recently that authorities are overwhelmed, according to an article by Loan Grillo for Reuters;

“More than 8,000 corpses left across Mexico since 2006 have not been identified, according to the National Human Rights Commission, a government-run body. At the same time, more than 5,000 people who have disappeared during the drug violence sweeping the country have never been tracked down, according to the commission.” (1)

However, the problem only partially lies with drug gangs. Corruption of government officials is rampant in the country, where most public servants earn very little money and bribes from drug traffickers are simply too significant too ignore. This corruption has infected every level of government involved in fighting drug crime, from local police forces to politicians to high ranking military officers. In fact, when legitimate large busts do occur, it’s often discovered in the fallout that corrupt officials were involved.

Of all the reasons that the Mexican war on drugs is so violent, the most severe is the violence brought about by military and police drug enforcement efforts. Because drug gangs regularly capture and kill police and civilians, the response during raids and arrests is often just as violent as the brutal actions of the criminals themselves. Entire military units are often dispatched to arrest leaders and foot-soldiers of drug gangs, but the battles that break out are generally fierce and net only minor successes.

Overall the sheer numbers of murders, mutilations, kidnappings and other types of violent crime related to the Mexican drug war are so vast that officials simply can’t keep up. In the end, people on the frontlines of the war become desensitized to the violence, and outsiders who could help see it in the news so much that it hardly seems real to many. Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that nearly all of the drugs trafficked into and out of Mexico are ultimately bound for the United States.

If you or someone you love is caught up in this lifestyle, you need to take action right now. Call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate consultation regardless of where you are or what time it is. A simple call could literally mean the difference between life and death.

(1) Grillo, Loan Mexico massacre highlights unknown drug war victims Reuters 05/14/2012

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
Recovery First is located in Hollywood, Florida, which is easily accessible from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Our small groups means you get more one-on-one support and make stronger connections with the community. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Florida's Atlantic coast or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.