Some of the greatest confusion created by the drug problem surrounds the extent to which drug use, trafficking and production contribute to crime, violence and corruption.
While marijuana users rarely commit crimes, users of cocaine, and especially crystal meth and heroin, are likely to steal to support their habit. In fact, 95% of opiate addicts commit crimes to get drugs or money to buy drugs. While theft is the most common offense, other crimes range from prostitution to homicide. Any measure to legalize these hard drugs would not remove the crime and violence related to their consumption.
The most commonly publicized exaggeration is the link between violence and drug production and trafficking. This belief has led several Latin America countries that are major producers and traffickers of cocaine and heroin to argue that legalization would significantly reduce the crime and violence afflicting their countries. What these countries, like Guatemala and Honduras, do not say is that they have been violent for quite some time and had some of the highest homicide rates in the world long before the Mexican cartels began rerouting their business through them.