I still remember Rome in the 70s and 80s.. it was common to find used syringes around this or that corner. Heroin was a huge problem in Italy, but it slowly faded away and I'm told that cocaine is now the hard drug of choice for Italians (aren't you feeling a little bit like a VIP now ?)
But the real point is crime. Drug is possibly the largest source of crime.. by using drugs, people actively fund criminals in their own country and in other countries as well.
For example, Mexico is currently a crime ravaged country, were drug cartels murder each other with daily. From what I hear form the news, the situation is pretty horrible (as times goes by, the movie Traffic looks more and more like a documentary).
Sure, liberalization of all drugs would help to reduce if not eliminate crime related to drugs.. but while that's not happening, anyone that uses drugs (and buys them directly or indirectly) is actively funding criminals.
Crowdfunding is getting quite common nowadays.. you pay a little something to the right people and you get some product that you'd like to see realized.
Now, imagine someone wanting to become a narcotrafficker posting his project on Kickstarter 8)
He'd make a compelling video of himself showing what kind of guns and fast boats he'd buy. The kind of drugs and their purity, and maybe showing someone from his early team, including killers, resellers, smugglers, lab workers.
To give some guarantees, he'd reassure the would-be funders that he has the right connections with corrupt politicians and police officers.
That would be outrageous.. how could anyone give any money to someone like that.. to bring death and terror in their own city and abroad. Yet, that's exactly what people do.. they fund all of this every time they buy and use drugs.
So, are people crazy ?
Well, you basically have to be selfish and overall stupid. Because those levels of indirection between your action and the reaction is enough to make you ignore that reaction.
Perhaps it would be interesting to have a system of achievements and visualization of progress for every time that one buys some drugs. Something like: "Congratulations ! You've just pay off for a gun for Mr. XYZ" ..oh but "guns don't kill people", so that wouldn't be clear enough.
I also believe that people simply like crime. If this weren't true, it wouldn't be 90% of the non-adult entertainment. We like gun fights, stabbings, gore, people cutting each other with chainsaws.. it's what we love to see on TV and at the movies.
But when does actual crime become real to us ? Nobody likes to be beheaded, and in most cases that does't happen. So, a few beheadings make for interesting news. We think it's horrible but it's also something interesting to read in the news.
My conclusion is that drugs crime is supported by a mix of things. There is the indirection with violent crime on one side, and when the realization of the connection to violent crime surfaces, then the buyer/user will feel the thrill and to some degree thrive on the idea that he/she is the end user of a product built on some serious criminal action, just like on TV.
Incidentally, I'm a big fan of The Wire 8) ..I found it very interesting !