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

September 15, 2011

Los Ninis: Mexico's Lost Generation

Susana Seijas, Dominic Bracco II

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has become the murder capital of the world. Most vulnerable are Los Ninis , young men and women who earned their name from “ni estudian, ni trabajan”—those who neither work nor study.

September 14, 2011

Fragile States: The Drug War in Central America

Nick Miroff

Billionaire Mexican drug mafias are muscling into Central America, undermining the region’s feeble governments and bringing violence to levels not seen since the civil wars of the 1970s and 80s.

June 17, 2011

North Korea's Addicting Export: Crystal Meth

Isaac Stone Fish, Sean Gallagher

Cheap, available, and an antidote to hunger, crystal meth appears to be becoming the drug of choice both in North Korea, and in its porous border region with China.

March 22, 2011

El Salvador: Fighting Drugs with Guns

Roberto Lovato

President Obama wants to put U.S.-Latin America relations on a new path. But his drug and security policies indicate that the more the U.S. stance toward the region changes, the more it stays the same.

June 25, 2010

Blood Trade: Memphis and the Mexican Drug War

Daniel Connolly

A hardened criminal from the streets of Memphis. One of the biggest drug cartels in Mexico. The corruption, cash, and demand for drugs that fuels an illegal, deadly trade -- and the consequences, for Mexicans and Americans alike.

May 23, 2009

Guinea-Bissau: West Africa's New Achilles' Heel

Marco Vernaschi

An international network led by Latin American drug cartels and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah has chosen West Africa, among the poorest and more corrupted corners of the world, as the nexus for illegal trade in cocaine, oil, counterfeit medicines, pirated music and human trafficking. International law enforcement officials...

Stains on Duterte's Society

After fleeing the area of Manila with high drug-affiliated assassinations, a young father returns home for his daughter's birthday only to be murdered with his children nearby.

Signs of Execution

On the night of June 21, 2017, seven people died from drug-related deaths, adding to the more than 12,000 dead since President Duterte began his war on drugs in the Philippines.

Killers Haunt a Wake

A mother recounts the night her son was murdered and how the killers scared mourners from his wake.

A Brother's Death

A young woman mourns the death of a brother during the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

Is the War on Drugs Over?

A panel discussion on U.S. drug policy with Hamilton Morris, Kathleen Frydl, and César Gaviria, the former president of Colombia. Sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and n+1.