America’s attraction to illegal drugs seems as strong as ever, and a story in the Aug. 31 Bloomberg Businessweek magazine makes it painfully clear that American businesses are playing a role in this dependence.

Heroin and crystal meth are two of the most popular drugs. There is an ample supply of both, Bloomberg reports, because the ingredients used to produce them are easily available in Mexico — from plants owned by American companies.

The story identifies Avantor Inc.’s Mexican operations as a primary supplier of a chemical called acetic anhydride, without which heroin cannot be created. And Celanese Corp.’s production of monomethylamine is equally vital to the making of crystal meth.

The two chemicals have plenty of legal uses. Acetic anhydride, for example, is important for the production of cigarette filters. But because of their use in illegal trade, the U.S. government has all sorts of restrictions on the sale of the chemicals. Mexico’s rules are far less stringent.

The result is no surprise. Most of the heroin and crystal meth coming into the U.S. is made in Mexico. It’s just shocking that American companies are complicit in this trade.

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