RESOURCES about the U.S. War on Drugs

Books, Articles, and Links

Andreas, Peter and Ethan Nadelmann.  Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations.  Oxford University Press, 2006.

Bagley, Bruce M. and William O. Walker.  Drug Trafficking in the Americas.  Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.  

Baum, Dan.  Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure.  Boston, Little Brown 1996.

Bartilow, Horace, and Kihong Eom.  “Bustin Drugs While Paying with Crime: The Collateral Damage of U.S. Drug Enforcement in Foreign Countries.” Foreign Policy Analysis.  5, 2 April 2009.

Blocker, Jack S.  “Did Prohibition Really Work?  American Journal of Public Health, 96, 2, February 2006, pp. 133-143.

Bourgois, Philippe.  Righteous Dopefiend.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

Bowden, Charles, “We Bring Fear,” Mother Jones, 2009

Campbell, Howard, Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2009.

Courtwright, David.  Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World.  Harvard University Press., 2002.

Dresser, Denise.  “U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum: State of Siege.”  Berkeley Journal of Latin American Studies.  Spring, 2009.

Dunn, Timothy F.  Blockading the Border and Human Rights: The El Paso Operation that Remade Immigration Enforcement.  Austin, University of Texas Press, 2009.

Gray, Judge James P., Why our Drug laws have failed and What we can do about it: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009

Guillermoprieto, Alma.  “U.S.-Mexico Futures Forum: The Narcovirus.” Berkeley Journal of Latin American Studies, Spring, 2009.

Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, Drugs and Democracy: A Paradigm Shift.  2009

Mares, David R.  Drug Wars and Coffeehouses: The Political Economy of the International Drug Trade.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006.

Nadelmann, Ethan.  Various articles in Foreign Affairs.  Also see co-authorship with Peter Andreas.

Naím, Moises.  Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy.  NY: Doubleday, 2005. 

Payan, Tony, Cops, Soldiers, and Diplomats: Explaining Agency Behavior in the War on Drugs.  Lexington, 2006.

Payan, Tony. The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration, and Homeland Security.  Westport, CT: Praeger.  2007.

Reinarman, Craig, “Cannabis policies and user practices: Market separation, price, potency, and accessibility in Amsterdam and San Francisco,” International Journal of Drug Policy, 2007.

Reinarman, Craig. Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. 

Reinarman, Craig, Peter Cohen, and Hendrien Kaal, “The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco,” American Journal of Public Health, 94, 5, May 2004.

Reuter, Peter.  “Limits of Drug Control: U.S. policy aims to increase the price and restrict the availability of illegal drugs.  It hasn’t worked. Here’s why.”  American Foreign Service Association.

Schneider, Eric. Smack: Heroin and the American City. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

Sharpe, Kenneth.  Drug War Policies: The Price of Denial.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Staudt, Kathleen. Violence and Activism at the Border: Gender, Fear and Everyday Life in Ciudad Juárez.  Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

Staudt, Kathleen, Tony Payan, and Tony Kruszewski, eds. Human Rights along the U.S.-Mexico Border: Gendered Violence and Insecurity.  Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009.

Youngers, Coletta A. and Eileen Rosin, eds.  Drugs and Democracy in Latin America: The Impact of U.S. Policy.  Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005.

Walker, William O. Drug Control Policy.  Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992.


Investigative Journalism

Abramsky, Sasha.  “The War Against the ‘War on Drugs’”.  The Nation.  July 6, 2009.

Camp-Flores, Arian and Monica Campbell.  “Bloodshed on the Border, Newsweek, December 8, 2008.

Corchado, Alfredo. 

Dickinson, Tim.  “A Drug War Truce?”  Rolling Stone, June 25, 2009.

Economist.  “How to stop the drug wars: Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution.” March 5, 2009. 

Greenwald, Glenn.  “The success of drug decriminalization in Portugal.” March 14, 2009.

Lawson, Guy.  “The Making of a Narco State.”  Rolling Stone, March 19, 2009.

Negrón, Sito.  “Baghdad, Mexico: In 2008 Juárez became a war zone. What happens next?” Texas Monthly, January 2009.

Negrón, Sito.  “Drug War is not just a metaphor; so how do we stop the shooting?” Newspaper Tree.  January 24, 2009.

Quiñones, Sam.  “Axis of Upheaval: Mexico. State of War.”  Foreign Policy.  March-April, 2009.

Padgett, Tim.  “On the Bloody Border: Mexico’s Drug Wars.” Time, April 23, 2009. 

Wall Street Journal, December 2008: series of articles, editorials, letters on drug policy.



International Journal of Drug Policy

Journal of Drug Issues


Web Sites

Alcohol and Drugs History Society

Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (for interdiction confiscation figures at ports of entry)

Drug Enforcement Administration

Drug Policy Alliance

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Los Angeles Times.  Excellent coverage, videos, photos.

National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA)/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML):

Newspaper Tree  (*see list below)  Also, search by source by going to the home page and using the search field for "frontera nortesur", "rafael nunez," "alejandra gomez," "tom barry" and "drug war" (some of the fns, nunez and gomez pieces will also come up with the search term "drug war"; tom barry pieces also available at americas online and on his borderlines blog)

Rice University, James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy

Students for a Sensible Drugs Policy

Trans-Border Institute, University of San Diego.  Justice in Mexico.

Transform: Drug Policy Foundation

El Universal de Mexico  Excellent coverage, videos, photos.

Washington Office on Latin America.


Newspaper Tree


CNN last night: It could have been worse. Cue Lou Dobbs.

Who are you idiots, and why are you on national television talking about the border? An open letter to U.S. media.

Perry's anvil, Mexico's hammer

Drug War is not just a metaphor, so how do we stop the shooting?

Drug War resolution requires resolve

Will City Council start to finish the Drug War it helped launch 100 years ago?

news/features (mixture of local-interest stories and bigger picture reporting/analysis)

Guerrillas, narcos, Washington, and the ghosts of 1910

Border militarization spreads and deepens

Perry: Texas is the anvil, Mexico the hammer. Now, send troops.

U.S. officials want to talk up business, eventual victory in Juarez (not kidnappings)

Drug-related kidnappings in El Paso hard to pin down but ICE stands by 6

Colombian Drug Lord Unclaimed in Juarez Morgue