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

The Fight Against Cocaine in Bolivia

For years, Bolivia has been considered only a transit point for cocaine — but in the last five years it has increasingly become involved in cocaine production as well. Last week, the U.N's International Narcotics Control Board annual report chided Bolivia's government for allowing an increase in coca production. But president Evo Morales has repeatedly fought efforts to eradicate coca in his country, saying that an increase in coca doesn't necessarily mean an increase in cocaine.

A Legal Market for Coca

The U.N.'s International Narcotics Control Board said last week that Peru and Bolivia should outlaw the chewing of coca. Those are fighting words in Bolivia, where coca leaves are widely grown and part of traditional Andean culture. Bolivia's president Evo Morales is a former coca grower who has pushed for increasing the legal uses of coca leaves — while clamping down on the illegal uses. He calls his policy "Coca Yes — Cocaine No" — that means encouraging legal coca growers — but cracking down on drug traffickers.

Bolivia: Tentación

We left Chulumani early in the morning, looking for Hernán Justo. He's the newly-elected president of the Departmental Association of Coca Producers or ADEPCOCA, an increasingly powerful organization that represents the rights of cocaleros to sell their coca in the legal market. People around town had told us that Justo was a young and charismatic farmer-turned-union leader -- just the man to talk to us about the commercialization of coca and how it's faring so far.