A Written Final Project
Presented to
Professor Larry Herzog
San Diego State University
MAS 355
The U.S. Mexico International Border
Leo P. Dano Jr.
December 02, 1996

In a recent newspaper article written in the San Diego Union Tribune
called “U.S. Scourge Spreads South.” A very disturbing fact was opening drug
doors just south of our own community, which is why I chose to do an in depth
study of the easiness of drug purchase in our southern neighbor. It\'s not new
news but a overwhelming growth in the usage of drugs, especially Rohypnol.
“The Mexican border town called Tijuana across from San Diego,
California, once was a famous as a playground for drunken sailors and college
students. Today, authorities on both sides of the border warn, it has turned
into a gangland run by a growing number of ruthless cartels that sell drugs. It
is no longer just marijuana (pot), but a growing problem with other types of
drugs like Heroin, Crystal Methamphetamine, and Cocaine.”
I recently visited the neighbor city of Tijuana and rode in a Tijuana
taxi and was immediately met with a taxi driver named Jose, a Tijuana taxi
driver in an open-necked, baby blue silk shirt, he sizes up the tourists
trudging off the footbridge from the United States. “Taxi, sir? You want
pharmacy? I get you a good pharmacy,” he urges, stepping from a line of
beckoning taxi drivers in big belts and straw cowboy hats. “Good prices! No
prescriptions!” Do I look like I want drugs?! I didn\'t even solicit the
business. I almost felt weird because this is exactly what I was planning to do
my paper on. Soon he is nosing his long yellow Oldsmobile through scruffy
streets choked with pharmacies. I asked for Somas-a drug that gives the user a
feeling of drunkenness without all the liquor, and illegal in the United States.
In less than 45 minutes I was able to purchase the drug right over the counter.
Of course, I didn\'t actually purchase the drug, but kindly told the pharmacy
that his price was too high.
This just goes to show you how easy it was to get an illegal drug just
30 minutes from SDSU. And instead of being sold by gun-toting drug traffickers,
it is available in much of Latin America with a doctor\'s prescription--often
easily obtained. It appears to be crossing the U.S. border via booming
pharmacies in cities such as Tijuana.
The sudden popularity of the drug (Somas) has returned the spotlight to
Mexico\'s border drugstores, which for years have done a thriving business with
Americans but have recently exploded in number with the Tijuana residents. “
Tijuana residents are nearly twice as likely to have used an illegal drug as
Mexicans nationwide.”
Drugs are not only a problem with our poverty ridden society here in
U.S., but with a lot of our middle to upper class are now being the focus of
drug usage. In a recent news broadcast, Rancho Bernardo, Scripps Ranch, and
other well to do communities are being hit with a heroin craze with our youths.
I couldn\'t believe people would actually want to stick a needle in their arm for
joy and pleasure. It is no longer the sniff, smoking of drugs but a whole new
trend of slamming (using needles to induce a drug). Even the worldwide scare of
Aids doesn\'t keep the drug of heroin from society. Dirty needles also scar the
arms of the heroin addict for life. “At the municipal jail, inmates detained
the night before for minor infractions such as loitering or fighting in public
pull up their sleeves and bare arms covered with needle tracks.”
Rohypnol is another nightmare for every parent in America which is
another easily obtained drug in the pharmacies in Tijuana. This is the drug also
known as the “date-rape drug,” which has been televised many of times. But
unlike heroin or cocaine, Rohypnol has a respected corporate manufacturer--the
Swiss pharmaceutical giant F. Hoffman-La Roche, which produces in Mexico City.
There are so many American tourists buying drugs that Tijuana\'s pharmacies have
doubled in the past five years and now number around 700.
With their cheap, government-controlled prices, they have drawn tens of
thousands of Californians, often retirees, who snap up brand-name blood pressure,
cholesterol and other medications, often saving 50% of more. and thanks to
looser regulations, the pharmacies also readily sell drugs that are unavailable
or require prescriptions in the United States, from Prozac to treatments for
Aids and cancer.
On Tijuana\'s Avenida Revolucion, a tourist strip where merchants hawk