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

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...

January 06, 2009

Cuba: Tropical Depression

Lygia Navarro

Six months after Fidel Castro's exit, Lygia Navarro explores the hidden epidemic of depression in Cuba. With the wait for social and economic transformation dragging on, many Cubans find escape from the difficulty of day-to-day life in black-market sleeping pills. Although Cuba's medical system is lauded internationally, the government...

Lawyer for the Dead in El Salvador

In El Salvador, home of the bloodiest gang violence in the world, we follow one man’s gruesome struggle to bring dignity and closure to the families of the victims.

This Week: The War on Drugs

President Richard Nixon was the first to declare a “war on drugs” and begin using military tactics to root out what is clearly a social problem. More than four decades later, there is no end in sight.