The New Drug Trade
On the U.S. border with Mexico, a new drug trade emerges. In an area where the socio-economic disparities are vast, the growing drug cartel influence poses yet another barrier to well-being. Many U.S. residents in the area have utilized medical care in Mexico for generations, and rely on their international physicians for life-sustaining treatment. However, amid the current cartel violence, many of them face barriers to their primary care services. These people have taken desperate measures. Many of them commission local individuals to enter cartel territories to smuggle prescription drugs back across the border. The situation continues to evolve and the new drug trade develops.
Leo Lopez III is a fourth-year medical student at the UT School of Medicine San Antonio, and a graduate of Texas A & M University with a BS in Biomedical Science and a Minor in Sociology. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Leo has been active in his hometown, founding a mentoring program for under-served youth, and serving in Operation Lonestar, a program that facilitates access to primary care services. Leo is a member of the American Medical Student Association, and he recently served on the organization’s Board of Trustees and as National Vice President for Membership.
Leo is also a commissioned investigative journalist, most recently for _The Lancet_ Medical Journal, which published his 2013 work on south Texas disparities. He has produced films on sociocultural issues to highlight sensitive components of the human condition. Most recently, Leo was offered opportunities by international medical organizations to direct and produce documentaries in West Africa and Palestine, projects now in preproduction. In the summer of 2012, Leo ventured to Central America to begin public health efforts in rural areas. In June 2014, he returned to Guatemala to continue his global health work in these same communities. He was recently appointed to the Commission for Legislative and Public affairs by the President of the Texas Academy for Family Physicians.