Mexico: Drug Violence Is So High, Male Life Expectancy Is Dropping

Drug violence in Mexico has been running rampant. El Chapo, the Mexican drug kingpin, was recently captured and arrested, but that didn’t happen without Mexican security forces encountering gunfire, which caused the deaths of several suspects. Drug violence in Mexico is so aggressive that the male life expectancy has decreased by several months, according to a new study, reports the Latino Post.

Between the years of 2005 and 2010, experts found that the recorded violence was taking a chunk out of the progress made by Mexican public health and security. Homicide rates shot up from 9.5 homicides per 100,000 people in 2005, to over 22 homicides per 100,000 people in 2010. However in 2014, those statistics were reduced to nearly 16 homicides per 100,000 people.

“The unprecedented rise in homicides after 2005 led to a reversal in life expectancy increases among males and a slowdown among females in most states,” according to the study published by Jose Manuel Aburto of the European Doctoral School of Demography and UCLA’s Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, along with two others.

Mexico: Drug Violence Is So High, Male Life Expectancy Is Dropping
A Mexican federal policeman inspects an abandoned car on March 1, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. [Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]

Men in Mexico usually lived an average of 71 years in 2010, and by 2014, those statistics increased to about 72 years. Guerrero, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Durango are five of Mexico’s most violent states and in those states, men lost an average of one year of life expectancy between the years of 2005 and 2010. In Chihuahua alone, the loss added up to three years. There were some improvements made in health care programs, however by 2010, two-thirds of states in Mexico had lower life expectancies, in comparison to what the statistics were 10 years prior. One of the biggest takeaways from the study seems to be that the decline in male life expectancy primarily took place between 2005 and 2010.

“The mortality rate for males ages 20-39 in Chihuahua in the period 2005-10 reached unprecedented levels,” according to the study. “It was about 3.1 times higher than the mortality rate of U.S. troops in Iraq between March, 2003, and November, 2006.”

Mexico’s male life expectancy rates are relatively low in comparison to other Latin American countries, like Honduras, El Salvador, and Venezuela.

Mexico: Drug Violence Is So High, Male Life Expectancy Is Dropping
A federal policeman stands guard at the scene of a suspected drug-related execution on March 1, 2012 in Acapulco, Mexico. [Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]

Though the authors of the study did note that “it is likely that other Latin American countries have been experiencing even greater reductions in life expectancy from homicide.”

Malcolm Beith, author of The Last Narco, said El Chapo — whose real name is Joaquin Guzman — is the heart of the drug war problem which has left thousands in Mexico dead. El Chapo started his own cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, nearly 35 years ago in 1980, and ended up expanding it into other states. Given the amount of protection he had in Mexico, along with the fact that he previously broke out of prison two times, some U.S. officials were not really sure if Guzman was ever going to be captured again. The U.S. Justice Department previously wanted to extradite El Chapo to the United States, and there is a good chance the Justice Department will take another shot at it.

American Senator John McCain sent out a tweet on Friday, following Guzman’s arrest.

“He’s the epitome of the problem,” Beith says. “He’s a poor kid who had some family connections in the drug trade, no options, no real education… (and) becomes a big-time drug lord.”

Mexico really began cracking down on drug cartels in 2006. The study notes that men were 10 times more likely to die in the violence than women. Most of the deaths were shootouts, executions, and turf battles fought by Mexican drug cartels.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]