Apologies for the jokey title, but this concerns yet another episode in the long-running argument between the governments of the United States and Mexico, mostly around who’s to blame for all the drugs flooding into the US from the Southern border.

Now it’s centered on the opioid epidemic’s ‘third wave’– fentanyl.

Apparently the President of Mexico, Lopez Obrador, has rebutted critiques of his government for not doing more to interrupt fentanyl manufacture. His response: It just ain’t so. He claims that “…more fentanyl reaches the United States and Canada directly than reaches Mexico.”

From where, you ask? He says Asia. But the DEA insists the stuff is coming from his country — mainly from two rival cartels, Jalisco and Sinaloa.

In the recent past, Mexico has insisted that no illicit fentanyl industry exists within their boundaries. But here, the Mexican President seems to admit that there is. It’s just not, he says, the primary source for America’s fentanyl. Read for yourselves: https://news.yahoo.com/mexican-president-says-more-fentanyl-190056810.html

The President went on to claim that Mexican-made fentanyl pills only came in blue– certainly not the multi-colored candy lookalikes found in the US. Of course, he also attributed America’s drug problem to not hugging our kids enough.

I’m wondering if he appreciates how easy it is to make pills in different shapes and hues.

Partisan elements in Congress are already demanding that America send troops across the border to stamp out the ‘evil’ cartels, once and for all. Somehow I think that would just make everything a lot worse.

It’s a reason to shift our focus back to the demand side of the equation. No, it isn’t easy to change people’s drug-taking behavior. But at least we’re not required to invade any other nation. We’ve all seen how that turns out.

Addressing the demand for drugs means making prevention and treatment far more available than they currently are. Over the past decades, we’ve learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t. It might help us avoid wasting time and resources on repeating earlier mistakes.

For instance, we wouldn’t focus all out attention on young elementary school children, flooding classrooms with anti-drug messages in the hope that that alone would be enough to deter them from later experimentation with drug use. Instead, we’d take pains to make effective treatment accessible to all communities, not just large cities. Our experience with the opioid epidemic taught us that much.

Maybe I’m dreaming, but as Captain Picard might say: Make it so.