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Drug Availability in High Schools in a Border Town: A Case Study Pertinent to Federal Drug Interdiction and Border Security Operations

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 20 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2007 Pages: 252-266
Ben Brown; William Reed Benedict
Date Published
October 2007
15 pages
As means of examining the effectiveness of drug interdiction operations, this paper provides an analysis of data on the availability of drugs in high schools in a border town (the border of the United States and Mexico).
The present data show that the increase in Federal border security expenditures has not stopped the flow of drugs across the United States-Mexico border. These findings generate questions about the effectiveness of continuing to spend billions of dollars on drug interdiction efforts along the border. Specifically, data gathered from a survey of high school students who reside in one of the most heavily fortified regions along the United States-Mexico border show that it is easy to purchase marijuana, cocaine, and rohypnol in the schools, suggesting the escalation of interdiction efforts along the border has failed to halt the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. Over the past couple of decades, the United States has spent billions of dollars on the “war on drugs”, with a sizable portion of the funds going to interdiction efforts along the United States-Mexico border. The focus on interdiction is based on the thesis that one of the best means of curbing illegal drug use is to prevent illegal drugs from entering the country. Despite the research that suggests drug interdiction operations are ineffective, Federal policymakers have held steadfast to the belief that drug interdiction is an effective means of controlling illicit drug use, and continue to spend billions of dollars on drug interdiction. This paper provides an analysis of data on drug availability in Brownsville high schools and, in doing so, contributes to the literature on drug interdiction in several ways. Tables, references