You don’t need to head into the dangerous cartels of Mexico to get an idea of how violent the drug industry can be. In fact, you needn’t leave your sofa – Netflix’s Pablo Escobar-inspired Narcos did a pretty eye-opening job of giving us a taste of just how much claret gets shed in the name of cocaine, as did 2001’s Geroge Jung bipoic Blow starring Johnny Depp as the infamous 70's dealer.
But away from the glamourous on-screen sheen, figures compiled by Metro from the National Crime Agency and PBS Frontline make the death toll a whole lot more real.
Between 2007 and 2014, 164,000 people were murders in Mexico, with estimates of the number of those deaths relating to drug-pushing cartels ranging from a third to 55%.
That’s as many as 90,200 lives snuffed out.
The idea of a line of white stuff costing more than just money hasn’t deterred Brit users though. The past two decades have seen a three-fold increase in the amount of cocaine bought in the UK, with as much as 30 tonnes of the drug getting trafficked into the UK each year.
“When [people] use cocaine, aside from putting their own lives at risk, they are feeding an industry which routinely uses death, violence and destruction in its production process,” Tony Saggers, head of the NCA’s Drugs Threat division, said at the 2015 re-launch of their anti-cocaine campaign. “Buying cocaine funds the exploitation of impoverished people, destroys and pollutes large areas of rainforest, forces people from their homes so coca can be grown on their land, and results in the murder of police officers and others who stand in the way of powerful crime groups.”
Talk about a downer.