Episode #6- Narco Mindset Podcast - War on Drugs - Part 1

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , speaker , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #6

War on Drugs - Part 1

March 4, 2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber

Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. ... Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber
Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci

In this episode, Dr. Valdes tackles a subject that is very important to him.  A large part of his mission is to shed light on the fallacies of .... The WAR ON DRUGS. In Dr. Valdes's unique perspective to the War on Drugs,  he suggests that the government does not want to win this war. He feels that since prisons are very lucrative, many special interest groups often provide millions in donations to politicians. Therefore, politicians have no interest in decreasing the prison population.  
Second, Dr. Valdes suggests that even though it's impossible to eliminate the drug cartels, there is much we can do to make an impact on the war and create a safer and more prosperous America.  As part of the podcast Dr. Valdes presents what he labels as the five pillars to make an impact on the war on drugs and finally, he shares his unique opinion on whether drugs should be legalized.

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Intro:                Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.

Jorge:               Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. I am your host, Jorge Valdes. I am here with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci, and we’re really excited about the next set of podcasts. We’re going to get into one subject that is very, very dear to me. A subject that Anthony is writing a book about that hopefully we can publish and then to send out to prisons. But basically the subject that we want to get into is based upon the war on drugs and the criminal justice reforms. Now, they are two different topics but they are all part of the same system. We have the criminal justice reforms is what is driving the war on drugs. The war on drugs is creating an enormous, massive incarceration rate that is destroying our country, so I’m really, really excited, Anthony, about this.

I’m looking forward to your questions so that we can go and we can really enlighten our listeners as to what is going on today because this is something that is very important. Everybody needs to know. Listen, politicians don’t walk into Washington and say, “Here I am. I am your politician.” We elect them or we fail to vote against them. Listen to that carefully. The decision they make with the money they spend, is your money. It is our hard-earned tax-payer dollars. None of what they spend comes out of their money. It comes out of those dollars that you and I pay through our taxes that I believe can be used to really help, allow the ailments that are existing in our country today. It’s children going hungry, families barely making a decent wage. So, anyway, I’m very, very excited, Anthony, and I look forward to your questions.

Anthony:          The war on drugs is definitely an interesting topic. I think it’s really good and really important to establish from the beginning what is the war on drugs. Could you define it, Jorge, just so that listeners really understand what we’re talking about here in very simple terms?

Jorge:               The interesting thing is, a lot of us hear the failing war on drugs but we really never even think about it. I’ll just give a little recap on the war on drugs. In the early '70s, there was a huge heroin epidemic in New York and President Richard Nixon decided that he was going to call the war on drugs and he had it right at the beginning. He ended up creating methadone clinics. He went after the consumption, and in essence, ended up wiping out the heroin problem in New York. But then something happened and he changed the focus. He changed the focus from the consumption to the supply. In other words, he declared war on drugs against all smugglers, all dealers then Ronald Reagan came in and made it stronger.

I used to laugh about it because I say that number one, I was really [inaudible 00:03:14] epitome of my career in the Medellín Drug Cartel when Ronald Reagan mentioned his new focus on the war on drugs along with Nancy Reagan’s ‘Say No to Drugs’. We laughed about it because we knew one thing, you’re never going to win the war on drugs. You cannot ever. If you think that the war on drugs is eliminating the drug cartels, forget about it. When politicians tell you they’re going to send the marines to Mexico, Colombia, laugh in their face. They are lying to you. There’s no way to win the war on drugs as we are fighting it today because for us in the cartel was, listen, just leave the consumer alone. As long as someone wants to buy our product, we’ll figure out a way to get it to them. The war on drugs is a war that we have now been engaged for over 40 years and just think about the statistics.

Since every war we have fought, since Vietnam to Afghanistan, till today, we’ve lost a total of 44,000 American soldiers. That’s too many. One is too many. What nobody realizes, and our listeners need to listen to this, is this, that every year, we lose 70,000 good Americans to a drug overdose. How about this? In the last 10 years, Anthony, we lost 980,000, and we don’t care about it. We’re spending billions and billions of dollars, and listen, let’s get this clear, by no means do I say stop fighting drugs. By no means do I say legalize drugs. I think that’s another big, big mistake. What I’m saying is, the way this war on drugs where they’re going after these cartels is being fought, is a war that the government knows they cannot win, and I actually believe they don’t want to win it because there’s a lot of monetary incentive to continue to fight that losing war.

What we want to tackle for our podcast is how do we see the war on drugs, and if we cannot win it, do we say we give up? Of course not. We can make an impact on it. We just can’t continue with the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again thinking, “Hey, you know what, we’re going to have different results”. No, we’re not. The results are worse and worse every day. Therefore, in this podcast, we’re going to break it all down beginning with the war on drugs, and then we’re going to go this massive prison incarceration that is horrific. Listen, tough on crime does not make our community safer. The other way around, and we’re going to talk about it in detail. What we need to do is, we need to come up with elements that I believe can make a big difference and stop this epidemic.

If we lose one child, every politician should be ashamed of themselves, and should really be thinking about it, and why are we not doing something to stop. Yeah, everybody talks about the opioid crisis is horrible. Who’s doing something about it? Some people are. Listen, I applaud law enforcement, so don’t get me wrong. Those people are heroes in my eyes. They go out every day, risk their lives to create a better world but it’s who’s at the top that is pulling the strings that don’t want us to dance to a different tune. We just want to keep the status quo. That’s my take on the war on drugs. It’s a losing element but the government believes they are going to go to all these countries, they are going to wipe out all these drug cartels. Good luck. Look what happened. They spent billions of dollars in Colombia with Pablo Escobar, the situation’s a lot worse today. What happened? We just have a bunch of widows and orphans. You just came back from Colombia, Anthony, you saw all the pain and devastation, and this was a war that was fought in the 1980's.

Anthony:          It’s very ironic to me that you in your former days as the number one cocaine drug lord in the United States in the ‘70s, you are now, in an ironic sense, on a mission to reduce the abuse of drugs, and that the way the war on drugs is being done today is just not effective. I think by breaking this down, we can kind of get underneath some things, underneath the surface. I was wondering if you can talk a little bit about what drives the supply of drugs, and what drives the consumption of drugs because you talked about the difference of supply and consumption, and back when Nixon was president he started off by going after the consumption but then it shifted and then propagated by Ronald Reagan focusing on the supply. Can you just talk a little bit about both of those sides in more depth?

Jorge:               The supply is simply always, it’s an economic principle we learn in school. Supply and demand. If there is a demand for a product, someone’s going to supply it. That’s what drives the supply. Let’s talk about consumption. Let’s be real. What makes America consume the majority of narcotics produced in the world? Is it because America is sick and ill? Maybe because of all the excess that we have? When we look at drugs, when we look at pornography, when we look at alcohol, when we look at all these ailments in our society, for me, I look back and I say, you know what, all they are is medicine for inner pain, an inner void that we have within us as human beings that we try to fill it. We can really break it down.

Let’s talk about like youth. Why I believe youth consume a lot of drugs. Number one is because I feel like they are empty. I feel that a lot of our youth today, with the fact that over 51% of all homes in America are broken. I feel that our youth today is screaming out for attention. I look at my son, Alex, when he was using drugs and how he overdosed, and look at him today, how successful of a young man he is. An amazing father, an amazing husband, amazing son. He was just screaming out, “Look at me. I need help. Help me.” They look at the homes that are broken, even the homes that are not broken, they see parents fighting, they see fathers never home, they see mothers drinking also because of a medicine. They are all medicines for the pain that we feel inside of us. What drives the consumption ... you know, one of the things in America is the fact that we lost perspective of what is really important in life, in our homes.

Listen, what I’m telling you is because I was guilty of the same, same thing. We feel that the more that we give our kids, the happier they’ll be. Baloney. The happiest moments in our kids’ lives is when we are present in their life. When we go to their games when we go to their dance recitals when we eat dinner as a family when we go to church and worship together. Those are the happiest moments. Those are the moments our children are going to remember. But we don’t. We’re working like animals because we want that extra car, we want that brand new cellphone every year, we want that exotic vacation, we want a house that we can’t afford. So, we want all these wants and wants and wants, and then what happens is, in the process, who gets hurt? Our children. They're abandoned, they feel lonely, they feel insignificant, they feel unworthy, so they begin to experiment with drugs to find joy.

I used cocaine after I left the drug cartel because I was still empty. I was like, “Look, nothing is filling me. Maybe these drugs that I’ve been selling all these years and I never used, maybe this is what I need to do.” The consumption drives the supply. Until we address, number one, the consumption side of it, and we talk about how do we create the centers? How do we create mental health that is needed? Listen, I believe a lot of people that are using drugs are suffering from mental health. They're suffering from depression. I didn’t understand depression until my wife was literally dying of clinical depression. I didn’t understand anything about it. I felt like, “Hey, if you're depressed it’s because you are bored. Get a job.”

But until, Anthony, until we look at what is really important, until we really refocus our lives, and say, “You know what, the wealthiest person in the world is not the one who has the most, it is the one that needs the least.” Until we put our families first and our kids first, until we become proactive, that’s another thing that’s critical. A great part of the drug problem is because we are a reactive society. We find out our son is on drugs and what do we do? We find the best rehab if we can afford it, or we do whatever it takes to try to get them help. My question is, why are we not proactive? Why are we not seeing the symptoms that are leading our children to use drugs, and do something about it at that time? It really is not much. It didn’t take much for my son to turn his whole life around and be the success that he is today. We need to look at all those aspects of it and realize that, listen, every day thousands of people are dying. Thousands are dying to a drug overdose. What can we do about it as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a father, as an uncle, as a pastor, as a priest? What can we do to help each other be able to confront this great evil that is drugs?

Anthony:          That was a great overview of the consumption side, and I get we’re going to talk more about that but I also want to go back to the supply side before we move on from that. You dealt directly with farmers who were supplying the drugs or at least the raw material that turned into the drugs. You had personal experience decades ago with that. Can you talk a little bit about the farmers’ side? I think a lot of people think in terms of the drug cartel leaders and the people making the money and the flashy drug lords and everything. What’s your perspective on those farmers, and why are they doing what they do and what has happened to the farmers that have sort of exasperated and made the drug problem and the drug supply problem worse? What’s your view of that because I think you have a very unique view of farmers when you look at the overall illegal drug system.

Jorge:               That’s a very, very important point. When I was asked to address the White House office of drug control, one of the things that I said is, “You know how you guys are failing at your war on drugs?” They’re like, “What makes you believe that we’re failing?” I said, “Well, 20 years ago, when I was in charge of the Medellín Drug Cartel,” I said, “think about it, we were selling cocaine for $48,000. Today, it is $20,000. What does that mean? It means there’s more supply than demand.”

Let’s talk about the farmers. That’s a really, really interesting point. I raised five points that are critical in how we cannot win the war on drugs but we don’t give up, and we can have a tremendous impact in curtailing, forget about the war on drugs, but in curtailing the demand of going about with the supply. What happens, all of a sudden, in Colombia, for example, when I started with this group that became the Medellín Drug Cartel, one of the things that we did is, we went to the farmers because, at the beginning of the ‘70s, that group that became the Medellín Cartel, all they did was buy from Bolivia or Peru and then at times, later on as we got more advanced at making more money, we created labs in Colombia to crystalize it. But later on, when we decided we were going to start growing our own plants because in Colombia, you can grow anything, we found out how easy it was going to be to do that. What happened? We went to, for example, my direct involvement.

We had a company where we were growing bananas. We ended up going and that was in El Chocó, a region of Colombia outside Medellín. We went to the farmers and we said, “Listen, tell us about what are you doing growing bananas and tell us about the impact that it has, the economic in your community.” I remember one farmer said to me, he says, “Sir, number one is, we barely make enough to live, and number two is, two thirds through our crop, the big multi-international companies come to us and said, “Throw them away, we don’t need anymore, we have enough supply.” Sometimes, we said, “Look, if we had roads to be able to take the bananas from Turbo up to Medellín then we could sell it, and create another fountain of income for us.” They didn’t care anything about it. What they did is, they exploited the farmers. When we found out, for example, I don’t remember the exact number but I’ll tell you relatively what it is. When we found out that a farmer was getting paid $10 to grow an acre of bananas, we went in there and said, “Listen, forget about that. Screw the bananas, you're going to grow coca for us, and what we are going to pay you is $1,000 an acre.” Think about this farmer who’s a family person, who’s a religious person and all of a sudden, he’s told, “Don’t grow this crap you’ve been growing all your life and starving to death with but grow this new crop, it is illegal, it might be immoral.”

We created hospitals for them. We built roads for them so that they could take the bananas that they were growing to Medellín and sell them. We created schools. Now, these people had a way to survive and to provide for their families and educate their children and live a longer lifespan because they had access to medicine and medical care. Do you think morality was going to mean anything to them? No. In reality, the multi-nationals, those international companies that buy bananas from South America are the ones that are amoral because they are raping the farmers. By the United States allowing these people to be raped, what ends up happening is that they go on and they’re going to grow drugs. When they grow drugs then what happens to their kids? Their kids have no place to go, so they join the cartels, and it becomes a vicious circle that nobody stops.

One of the tenets that I said that we need to attack is the exploitation of the farmers. We need to set up safeguards and say, “Listen, you XYZ banana company, you can’t do this anymore. You can’t exploit these farmers like this. You’ve got to give them the ability to make a living wage, and that’s one of the tenets that I said that is actually by exploiting the farmers, they create a greater supply, they give incentive to the farmers to go ahead and plant coca, and now they are planting heroine. There’s no end. But again, we always look at the top of the problem. We don’t look at the root. What is the root? Money, greed, exploitation.

Anthony:          When you use the term ‘rape’ I think you mean economically because it speaks to the exploitation to them but do you think that even if the farmers get a fair share or are better compensated for other products, wouldn’t the drug cartels come in and say, “We’ll pay you twice as much as the highest bidder.” How do you avoid just the drug cartels coming in and trying to outdo and out-pay anybody, even if the farmers are treated much more fairly than they may have been historical?

Jorge:               What it’s going to do is it’s going to eliminate the areas where the cartels are dependent on the farmers because now it’s gotten to the point where cartels own their own land and raise their own crop, and there's nothing we can do. That’s just a result of all the greed throughout all these years. But at the end, what ends up happening, Anthony is, you’ve got to find that point, morals and survivor cross. What do I mean by that? When your morals are saying this is wrong because, in the beginning, I could understand a lot of the farmers not even caring what they were growing because cocaine was for the rich and famous, nobody was getting hurt. What they see now is that that has changed, that kids are getting hurt, that their own children are getting enlisted in the cartels, their communities are devastated.

When it comes now to the point where you give them the opportunity to say, “Listen, when your morals say that this is wrong, your pocket will say, ‘Okay, I don’t need to add to this problem, I don’t need to do this because I can survive.’” The problem is when your morals say, “Listen, this is wrong.” But your economics, you're saying is like, “Okay, because it is wrong, am I willing to let my children starve? Am I willing to let my children die early because of a lack of medication?” So, there’s that cross-point where we make it where we give them a living wage, where we make it profitable for them and where we help them, so when that morality comes around and says, “Listen, what you are doing is wrong.” They can say, “Yes, it’s wrong and I refuse to do it because it’s not right, and I don’t have to do it.” When you have to do it, and like everything else in life. Now, that’s a very simplified form.

Some listeners might say, “Listen, it’s a lot more complicated than that now.” Yeah, I would agree, it’s a lot, a lot more complicated. Well, by using these principles that we’re going to talk about from my experience, it will highlight the essence of the problem, and you’ll see we can weave a web through it all that is all based upon greed. Greed is what drives everything. Greed is what tells us, “Hey, I don’t care what you do as long as I make money.” Greed is what says, “I don’t care if I don’t see my kids as long as I buy them a bigger house.” That’s one of the things that we need to focus on.

Anthony:          What about the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies. They are making a lot of money in terms of drugs and they are a major player and have a strong lobbying group in Washington DC. What do you see the role of pharma companies and what’s their responsibility to help address everything from the opioid crisis to just overall abuse of drugs?

Jorge:               That is probably the best question anybody can ask, and we really need to listen carefully. To begin with, how many of our listeners, Anthony, realize that 60% of all drug overdoses in America are from legal pharmaceutical drugs. Now, caveat, carefully, guns don’t kill people, people kill themselves with guns. Drugs don’t kill people, people use drugs to kill themselves. Now, you’ve got those pharmaceuticals that we’d need to go after, put them out of business and bankrupt them like the people with oxycodone where they were forcing doctors. I remember my son, he had a cyst and he was a golfer. When he went to the doctor, the first thing they gave him was 20 oxycodones.

When my son, Alex, first started using drugs, he was getting high with a friend and his mother whose husband was a dentist and was giving them oxycodone. This pharmaceutical company knew that 20 oxycodones can kill you or you'll definitely become addicted to life. They were pushing for doctors and hospitals to give out this huge prescription. When they gave my son ... when I went to the window to pick up his medication, I saw 20, I told [inaudible 00:21:22], I said, “I don’t want 20. I want two pills. One when he comes off the general anesthesia, and then the other one we’re going to split it, give him half tomorrow and half the next day. Then Tylenol will be just as good.” “Oh no, we’ve got to give you 20.” I said, “I don’t want 20.” But you know what, they insisted on 20.

Those companies we need to go after and put their ass out of business, and sue the hell out of them. But there’s a lot of good pharmaceutical companies that produce a lot of narcotics that people abuse and a lot of those narcotics used right can help people. When I go to pharmaceuticals and say, “Listen, you are 60% the reason. Your drugs are killing 60% of our people here in America. What I’m saying is this. You make a lot of money on these pharmaceuticals, and you have a moral responsibility to give back and to do something to help people, and help youth specifically stay away from them and not get addicted. So, join our forces. Join whatever efforts are out there to be done and help.”

I remember when they had the killings, the American family that was killed in Mexico, and immediately, the President said, “I’m going to talk to the President of Mexico and send them help to go after the bad hombre.” Then-Senator Cotton says, “Yeah, we just need to quit, hugs and kisses.” And I’m paraphrasing. “We just need to send the marines.” And I’m like, “You know what, Senator, quit lying to our people, darn it! First and foremost, what are you going to do? You are going to send how many marines to how many parts of Mexico? And when you finish, you are going to send marines to Colombia, and you are going to send marines to Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and every country in the world. China, Thailand and every country in the world are dealing in drugs. You are going to send them there, and guess what, Senator, that’s only 9% of the drug overdose. What are you going to do? Send the marines to big pharma and wipe them all out? But it’s all part of the same big lie.

By the way, how do we deal with pharma? Listen, we need to make these drugs more affordable to people, but as you see, what I think is the cause problem of all this, going back to greed, is we’ve got to take that incentive away from this company to give politicians billions and billions of dollars. In Mexico, we call it bribery, and people do it openly. That is what they're talking about passing a new law where it would be illegal to bribe in Latin America. I just laugh at this. It’s like insane. I’m like, “Look, we don’t do differently in America. We don’t call it to bribe here; we call it lobbyist.” Again, I’m not saying that every lobbyist is bad. There’s a lot of good lobbyists defending some great interests. But when you can buy drugs cheaper somewhere else than in America, when I can buy an ointment for $2.50 in Mexico and it costs me $75 on a prescription in the United States, something is wrong.

So yeah, we need to go to big pharma and say, “Listen, we can create programs and there are programs. I have seen them, I have been part of them, that have curtailed, eliminated the consumption, that has filled the emptiness inside the young people, that have given them an alternative than sitting there and do drugs and kill themselves. We don’t need to tell kids that drugs are bad. Listen, every human being in the world knows that drugs are bad. We need to give them the tools that they need to be able to say, “No, listen, I was created for something greater. I’m happy. I know how to find joy for my life that is not getting drunk or getting high or killing myself.” Yeah, pharma can play a big, big role. They make billions and billions of dollars off these drugs. They can give back and say, “Okay, what can we do to make a difference?” And they can. They can make a huge difference.

Anthony:          What can the government do better? Is it a case of youth centers or dealing with mental health issues, what do you really see is the role of government if government leaders were to step back and say, “We’ve got to do this better.”

Jorge:               I wish we had term limits so that politicians that go there with the idea to really make a difference in the world do, and that they’re not just spending hundreds and millions of dollars they have to raise every year so that they can continue to get elected so that they don’t lose that measly power that they have. The government can do a lot but here’s the thing with government, who is government, Anthony? The government is us. Like I said, they don’t walk and then say, “I am your congressman, I am your senator.” We leave them there. They lie to us. They make promises to us that they don’t keep and we let them stay and stay and stay. Hoping what? Either we’re stupid, they think that we are stupid, or we just don’t give a damn. Do you know when we give a damn? We give a damn when one of our children gets killed in a school or in a mass shooting then we create all kinds of programs, and we become real advocates of gun legislation or when your child overdoses then we want drug control.

Why don’t we look at them and say, “Listen, government, instead of wasting billions and billions of dollars in this war on drugs or the $180 billion that massive incarceration is costing us every year? Like the fact that England and Wales have combined, 59 people on death row and yet we have 59,000. Are Americans more criminals than anybody else or is it because if we lock them up, it creates great revenues for prisons?” What can the government do? Number one, and then we’ll get into that later on when we talk about massive incarceration, get rid of all these private prisons. Those private prisons, how do you think they get the contracts? They give, as you all know from the book you are writing, Anthony, they give millions of dollars to politicians to make tougher laws so that their clientele does not diminish. But the government can create youth centers. The government can team up with local not-for-profits that know the community well and want to make a difference.

I’ll give an example. I did a youth rally with congressman Gil Gutknecht of Rochester, Minnesota years back. What we do is, we went into his community, I spoke at all the public schools, I spoke at the prison, the youth centers, I spoke at rehab clinics and then we ended up with a big event, and that, I was at the Mayo Clinic auditorium. We went to a little suburb of Rochester and there was this community that used to be drug-infested, huge gang problems, and this young man went ahead, and all he wanted to do was save his brother. He wanted to save his brother from the gang.

This was a little youth pastor. No money. No resources. All he cared about was saving his little brother from joining gangs and dying. He went and rented this dilapidated building that they gave him for $100 a month, and he went in there and got the community, and started telling the kids, “Listen, from 5:00 to 10:00 at night, you’re going to come in here to the youth center if you like, and we’re going to battle the bands. We’re going to have a coffee shop. On Monday night, we’re going to watch Monday night football. We’re going to watch sporting events, we’re going to have played, we’re going to have skits, basketball games, we’re going to do a lot of different activities. Now, from 6:00 to 6:30, if you are here ... now, you can step outside, but if you’re here, we’re going to read a verse out of the Bible.”

They didn’t read the Bible as a religious book again. They read the Bible as a book of morals. Why? Because moral people don’t kill, steal, rob and cheat. The outcome, Anthony, was that in two years, this young man took a drug-infested town and cleaned it up by himself. With no resources. In two years, he created a safe place for these young people to go and find hope. I’ll tell you what we did through our foundation, Tres Hermanos in Mexico. When we moved to Cozumel so that our kids would learn a different culture ... my wife and I have always been trying to make sure our kids are not sold into consumerism.

We both come from poverty, we both became very successful working our butts off, and unfortunately, our company grew and we had private jets and yachts, and we lived in a gorgeous million-dollar home in Georgia, and our kids went to the best private schools. One day we said, “Look, they don’t realize that this is not reality, that there are kids that are going hungry.” I want to take my children to a country where they can see people that miss meals every day. Be joyful. Be happy. We did.

My daughter, who at that time was just eight, nine years old, saw that her friends in this wealthy school that she went to, the girls were cutting themselves, and there were little gangs. My daughter, who at that time was doing Ironkids, got a couple of her friends and said, “Look, let’s come to the track, and let’s run, and let’s exercise, and let’s take care of our bodies.” Little by little, more and more kids started coming, and she created a tremendous program. The program was ‘I Say No to Drugs, Obesity, and Violence’. How she did it was, she used triathlon as a methodology to help these kids.

They would come and then she used from what she heard me talk about gangs, she used gang colors, and she used t-shirts. She said, “When you start with us, you have a white shirt. You come here for an hour, hour and a half every day after school, and then as you gain points ...” and the way she devised it was they would gain points by doing what? Not by being first, fastest or nothing but number one, showing up on time. Boy, was that a challenge in Mexico. Number two, being a good kid. Getting a letter from the school saying they were doing better. A letter from their home saying that they were helping around the house. Bringing another friend to the program.

As they got points then they went to the green jersey, and we taught them how to swim. It went on and on and then they got a red jersey, and we gave them a bike. Now, they were doing a triathlon. Anthony, in three years, took 300 kids that were at risk and all of a sudden, no one ever cut herself, no one ever went back to drugs, no one got involved with gangs, and it didn’t cost that much. So, if we look at these communities out there, these pastors, these leaders in our community that is struggling not-for-profit because they feel they have a calling to make a difference, and if we make it easy for them, not create this mammoth of bureaucracy where they can’t get any help.

George Bush was starting at the beginning to help and empower the not-for-profit. They are local warriors. They know our kids. They know our community, and they can make our community safer but they don’t have lobbyists to get them hundreds and thousands of dollars. Yeah, the government can say, “Listen, we’re going to re-appropriate our resources and any community that has a program that’s going to make a difference, that’s going to help, we’re going to help them. We’re going to join up with them and it’s going to make a big difference.”

Anthony:          This topic on the war on drugs is so big that even though this particular episode is winding down, the conversation is not going to end. I really want to encourage our listeners after listening to our episodes on the war on drugs to e-mail us. E-mail us your questions. Maybe there’s things that I did not ask. Maybe there are things that have not come up that you are curious about. Please go to jorgevaldesphd.com.

Jorge:               As we finish up this segment on the war on drugs, again, knowing that there’s no way that this war can be won but there is a way that you, I and every listener can make an impact on it. We’ll be presenting some of those principles. I look forward to our next discussion next week. Remember to go to my webpage www.jorgevaldesphd.com, and sign in to our community. The first 3,000 people that sign in to our community will receive a free copy of my book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition. See you next week.

Outro:              We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.