Heroin production crisis in Mexico - “the last harvest”
Romain Le Cour Grandmaison
(Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Paper short abstract:
While fentanyl is killing thousands of people in the US, it also has dramatic socio-economic consequences in Mexico, where poppy-producing peasants used to rely on US demand for heroin, especially over the past decade, in order to survive.This paper will examine a rare case of drugs production, where drugs are not profitable anymore.
Paper long abstract:
This paper shows that the dramatic rise of fentanyl use in the US is generating a parallel and rapid collapse in the price offered for raw opium in rural Mexico, whereretail prices have fallen up to 80%, putting local farmers, as well as entire communities in an unstainable economic position. While fentanyl is killing thousands of people in the US, it also has dramatic social and economic consequences on the southern side of the border, where poppy-producing peasants used to rely on US demand for heroin, especially over the past decade, in order to survive.This paper will examine a very rare case of drug production, where drugs are not profitable anymore. This paper is based on fieldwork conducted in the Mexican State of Guerrero in May 2018, in a mountainous and extremely marginalized region of Mexico, whose inhabitants depend for their livelihoods on opium production. I carried observation and interviews with local villagers, opium producers, drug-traffickers, and elected politicians. I will address an under-investigated issue of drugs and development: the direct socio-political effect of an “illegal” economic crisis, and its impact on local social groups in terms of rural development, the organization of security and violence, as well as their positioning towards the State. Finally, this paper will allow to address the national and international political economy of drug trafficking, at a moment where drugs policies in Mexico are more questioned than ever.
Opening up the drug policy debate: grassroots perspectives