The White House's new plan for combating heroin will encourage law enforcement to treat addiction like a public health issue rather than a criminal problem, but most reformers say the plan will fuel the failed War on Drugs, which will not end until the cops are taken out of the drug policy picture altogether. The federal drug control budget has continued to grow since the war on drugs began 40 years ago and totaled roughly $25 billion in 2015, according to the DPA. A majority of the funding - about 55 percent - still goes to law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping the flow of drugs by cracking down on trafficking, while less than 45 percent is devoted to education, prevention and treatment.
While Washington pays lip service to Central America's dire social situation, local communities in the region are doing something to address the root causes of poverty and violence, from the lack of educational and economic opportunities to environmental degradation.
"We don't talk about why our culture is grounded in a romanticization - and in fact, a sexualization - of gun violence ... And when the noise dies down, we return to accepting the mundane," says Kelly Hayes.