4 Serious Dangers and Downsides to Drug Tourism

The Dangers of Drug Tourism | HealthSoul

Drug tourism is nothing new. Here in the United States, people from so-called “dry counties” travel to “wet counties” to buy alcohol extremely frequently, and have done so before and after Prohibition. People also cross state lines to buy cheaper cigarettes or cross into Canada for more affordable prescription medications regularly.

Here in Texas, cross-border drug tourism has been a problem for decades and is not likely to cease in the near future. And in this age of extremely affordable air travel, we’re seeing an explosion in drug tourism across different continents. It appears that so long as there’s a demand for a substance, people will look for cheaper ways to get it.

The practice of drug tourism is often presented as either some kind of profound mind-opening experience or as a hedonistic bacchanalian activity. Confusingly, people might even cite both things at once as a reason for engaging in it.

Of course, there is a dark side to this story, particularly when illegal or unregulated drugs are involved. Below are just some of the ever-present risks to drug tourists. If you’re in North Texas and need help for a drug use disorder, please check out this link for a list of top substance rehabilitation centers in Dallas.

1.) Drug tourism devastates local communities

While you might be enriching drug lords and perhaps, a local dealer or two, it’s extremely rare that the community at large benefits from illicit drug tourism. In Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and other popular destinations for Americans looking for illicit drugs, violence is often used by those involved in the illegal drug trade as a way to secure territory or to keep people in line.

While the tourists are largely (but not completely) safe, the communities where these kinds of activities take place are often beset by violence, lack infrastructure and healthcare, and are generally just awful places to seek an existence or raise a family. By engaging in drug tourism, you are destroying the lives of locals and are contributing to more misery in the world.

2.) You risk arrest, extortion, and torture

Very few locals appreciate the presence of people they know full well to be drug tourists. This remains true even when the community and local law enforcement is fully under the control of a criminal gang. Your mere presence there can lead to a variety of extremely untenable situations, such as being forced to be a drug mule among others.

Many Americans are also unaware of local laws, which could lead to trouble with the authorities when they unwittingly use illegal drugs. Because they are unlikely to get sympathy from locals or even people back home, drug tourists may often find themselves more likely to be beaten, manhandled, or subject to extortion by local police and thugs.

3.) You may be tempted (or forced) into becoming a mule

The low price of drugs often turns the wheels in drug tourists’ heads and makes them consider smuggling drugs back home for a profit. Local dealers and gang leaders pretending to be friendly may even encourage this idea, offering cash for you to smuggle a “modest” amount of drugs. However, your odds of getting caught these days are extremely high, particularly if you go through any major American international airport.

Of course, your life probably means nothing to drug dealers, so they may try to have you act as a mule anyway. Unfortunately, there have been cases where violence and coercion have been used to gain compliance. Many of the gangs that cater to drug tourists even have international connections and they may even credibly threaten violence against your family or friends should you refuse.

Even if you do voluntarily agree to become a mule, chances are that the drug dealer will lie or misinform you so that you will be carrying more drugs than you agreed. This is an especially important point, as drug penalties depend on the weight of the specific substances. Most American drug tourists are also completely unaware of the punishment that awaits them back home if (or when) they get caught.

4.) You put your health at risk

Even when everything else goes smoothly, the fact is that drug tourists are at an elevated risk of an overdose, getting into a serious accident, or getting an adverse reaction from their drugs. When any of these things happen in a place without adequate healthcare or in a place where the locals don’t speak the drug tourist’s language, what might be a survivable incident back home could become downright lethal.

While these problems are not universal, they are very real risks that American tourists run into, particularly when they visit to partake in drugs that are also illegal in their host country. If you’re thinking about going to another state or country to take drugs that are illegal at home, you’d better think it over a few times. If the drug is also illegal or completely unregulated in the host country, chances are it isn’t.