Issue

Drug Crises

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 Crises 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 Crises

Photo Essay: Murder, Cocaine in Guinea Bissau

Cocaine trafficking has turned Guinea-Bissau into Africa's first narco-state, and a lucrative source of cash for Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as well as South American drug cartels. The double assassinations last March of the country's president and army chief of staff exposed a lawless state that is spiraling out of control. The images below, which originally ran as the cover spread for The Sunday Times Spectrum Magazine, chronicle the intersection of drugs and violence in Guinea Bissau.

Overcome by Violence (German)

Story written by Peter Burghardt

Updated Feb.11, 2011

From the introduction on the Süddeutsche Zeitung site (translated from German):

"Originally, the Italian photographer Marco Vernaschi wanted to do a photo story on drug dealers in Guinea-Bissau, Africa. But he ended up in a gruesome war between the military and the government. First, the highest ranking army general was murdered. Then Vernaschi drove to the house of the president who had just been killed by soldiers. A photo essay from the heart of hell."

Legal Coca Farming

Bolivian President Evo Morales says he's committed to fighting cocaine production and trafficking in his country. Three years ago, he instituted a drug program called "Coca si, cocaine no." That means it's illegal to make cocaine -- but farmers are allowed to grow the coca plant, the basis of cocaine, for traditional uses such as chewing or making tea.