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Illicit drug trade strong on global stage

By Ehlayna NapolitanoNEWS EDITOR

“I want to give you a bigger picture … of what we’re facing in regards to drugs,” said Dr. Charles Levinthal, chair of Hofstra’s psychology department during a lecture on Wednesday. “Spoiler alert: it’s not a pretty picture.”

It’s no secret that drug trafficking and drug use are major issues facing the modern world today. Drugs are associated with danger, violence and, in some cases, death. The global drug trade was discussed in detail during Levinthal’s lecture, titled “Drug Enforcement and Drug Control in a World of Narcoterrorism and Global Politics.”

Levinthal outlined drug trafficking in terms of where the drugs come from and where they go, as well as what could be done about the problem. He noted that the drug trade has become globalized, eradicating the simple and direct drug trafficking routes of the past.

Levinthal mainly focused on Afghanistan, where opium dominates; Colombia, a cocaine producer; and Mexico, one of the most ideal transport countries in the world, as drug kingpins of the world. He detailed the ways that drug production and cartels are linked inextricably to groups in power within each of those countries, such as the Taliban, key figures like Pablo Escobar and police and military, respectively.

Colombia is mainly a producer of coca, which can be snorted or injected, and crack cocaine, which is smoked. According to Levinthal, Colombia’s drug industry is connected to the violence that has dominated the country for many years.

“It’s a game of Whack-a-Mole,” Levinthal said. “That describes the situation of controlling coca cultivation in [Colombia].”

Students reacted positively to the information imparted to them during the lecture, affirming that they had learned a lot during the lecture.

“I’m definitely more informed about the topic,” said Sam Burgess, a freshman criminology major. “These drugs are killing people.”

Burgess said that she knew a lot of what Levinthal discussed because she is from Colombia.

Similarly, Mansour White, a sophomore finance major, said that the lecture was particularly interesting to him because of the role that drugs play in his local community of Hempstead.

“I’m interested in learning about drug trafficking … especially because of the [negative] effect that drugs have on the community [where] I live,” White said. “I learned a lot about where drugs come from.”

The lecturer noted that drugs produced in any of the countries he talked about were transported all over the world. America, Levinthal said, is one of the greatest consumers of illicit drugs in the world.

“The bottom line of the global illicit drug trade is working very well — all too well,” Levinthal said.


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