By Ana Campoy for Quartz. The US’s heroin epidemic is not only killing Americans. It’s also increasing the homicide rate in Mexico’s poppy-growing regions.
In the Mexican state of Guerrero, one of the country’s top heroin-producing areas, this year has seen 1,651 murders so far, surpassing the 1,514 recorded in all of last year, according to government data released Nov. 23. Though the numbers are still down on a brutal spike in 2011-13, the general trend is upwards. Since 2007, annual murder cases have more than doubled, making Guerrero the state with the highest murder rate (pdf, p. 3) in all of Mexico.
Another thing that has roughly doubled in that period? The number of heroin users in the US.
To supply the growing market, Mexican cartels are seeking to expand their heroin business in the US, according to a recent DEA report (pdf). Heroin seizures at the US-Mexico border more than doubled between 2010 and 2014 as the cartels ratcheted up smuggling. Seizures have also gone up nationally.