Issue

Drug Wars

Militant Islamists escort drug convoys through northern Mali in exchange for hefty payments. The U.S. military and Honduran authorities use commando-style tactics to catch traffickers in the remote jungles of La Moskitia. A 15-year old from Ciudad Juarez, the most violent city in Mexico, chooses the clarinet over drugs after dropping out of school twice.

Drug Wars tells of men, women, and children who risk their lives—as drug users, traffickers, smugglers, and enforcement agents. You will find searing portraits of those who suffer from addiction, their family members and loved ones. These are stories not only of lives lost and opportunities missed, but also of the fear and disruption that can overwhelm a community.

Pulitzer Center journalists expose corruption, extortion, and murder in an often violent war on drugs, fought in all corners of the globe, in Cuba and Crimea, in Bolivia and Burma, and from the Philippines to Tajikistan. They cover various recovery programs, such as opioid substitution therapy, as well as policy debates involving the roles of drug enforcement agents, the police, the military, and government. And they ask important questions: Are drug users criminals or patients in need of medical treatment?

Drug Wars

Narco State

Since 2007, Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony and one of the poorest nations in the world, has become the new hub for cocaine trafficking in Africa. Drug cartels from South America and the voracious appetite for cocaine in Europe have transformed this tiny country into a living hell.

The Fall of Africa's First Narco-State

Cocaine trafficking has turned Guinea Bissau into Africa's first narco-state, and a lucrative source of cash for Hezbollah and al Qaida as well as South American drug cartels. The double assassinations last March of the country's president and army chief of staff may have been the point of no return as this tiny country sinks into a new era of conflict.

Disclaimer: The following contains graphic imagery and content, and may not be suitable for all ages.

Photographed by: Marco Vernaschi / Pulitzer Center

Guinea Bissau's drugs corruption

The West African country of Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest nations in the world, is a base for narcotics heading to Europe and has a big crack cocaine problem.

It has suffered a series of coups and a civil war. Earlier this year the head of the armed forces was killed and, a few hours later, the president was murdered in retaliation.

But are things turning around for Guinea-Bissau? The killings led to elections being held last weekend.

In the heart of the narco-state

Drug traffickers use Guinea Bissau as a base to smuggle drugs to Europe. A journalist from El Pais visited the country: one of the poorest nations in the world, where militaries -- involved in bloody clashes -- hinder drug trafficking investigations and Latin American drug dealers cross Bissau's dark nights in luxury cars.