Long before he was a presidential candidate, Beto O'Rourke Beto O’Rourke realized that the War on Drugs doesn’t work. This became obvious to O'Rourke and Susie ByrdSusie Byrd when they served as city representatives in the border town of El Paso, Texas. When they started to ask questions about why El Paso’s sister city Ciudad Juárez became the deadliest city in the world—8,000-plus deaths since January 1, 2008—Byrd and O’Rourke soon realized American drug use and United States' failed War on Drugs are at the core of problem. In Dealing Death and Drugs—a book written for the general reader—they explore the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. They argue that marijuana prohibition has created a black market so profitable that drug kingpins are billionaires and drug control doesn’t stand a chance. Using Juárez as their focus, they describe the business model of drug trafficking and explain why this illicit system has led to the never-ending slaughter of human beings. Their position: the only rational alternative to the War on Drugs is to end to the current prohibition on marijuana.
"If Washington won’t do anything different, if Mexico City won’t do anything different, then it is up to us — the citizens of the border who understand the futility and tragedy of this current policy first hand — to lead the way." — from the Afterword
Watch the Freethought radio interview with Susie Byrd here.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Dealing Death and Drugs will be donated to Centro Santa Catalina, a faith-based community in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, founded in 1996 by Dominican Sisters for the spiritual, educational and economic empowerment of economically poor women and for the welfare of their families.
Beto O'Rourke is a fourth-generation El Pasoan. He previously ran as a Democratic candidate for U.S. President, after a campaign for the Senate. He served three terms the House of Representatives, and two terms on the El Paso city council.
Susie Byrd, past city rep for El Paso, runs the District Office for U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar. She is the former sales director of Cinco Puntos Press and co-edited The Late Great Mexican Border: Reports from a Disappearing Line (Cinco Puntos Press, 1996). She lives with her husband and children in El Paso’s Manhattan Heights neighborhood, about a mile north of the international border. Read some of the backstory behind the book in the the Texas Tribune article "Meet the small El Paso publishing house behind the book Beto O'Rourke co-wrote about legalizing pot"