Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Policing

The mission of the DEA is to enforce controlled substance laws and regulations and to reduce the availability and demand for illicit substances.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal law enforcement agency that operates under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice. The DEA’s mission is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States. It is responsible for investigating and prosecuting individuals and organizations involved in the manufacture, distribution, and trafficking of illegal drugs, as well as supporting non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing drug availability and demand.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was established in 1973 as part of the federal government’s response to the growing problem of drug abuse and trafficking in the United States. Its creation was a direct result of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which consolidated federal drug laws and created a single system for regulating controlled substances.

The DEA operates throughout the United States and around the world, working in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and international organizations to combat drug trafficking and related crimes. It maintains a large network of offices and agents, with field offices in every state and in more than 70 countries.

The agency’s responsibilities include investigating drug trafficking organizations and seizing illegal drugs and assets associated with drug trafficking. It also works closely with local and state law enforcement agencies, providing training and technical assistance to help them combat drug trafficking in their communities.

In addition to its enforcement activities, the DEA is involved in a range of non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing drug abuse and drug-related crime. These programs include community outreach and education programs, drug abuse prevention initiatives, and efforts to support drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.

The DEA also plays a key role in international drug control efforts, working with other countries to identify and disrupt transnational drug trafficking networks. It participates in international drug control initiatives and provides training and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies to help them combat drug trafficking and related crimes in their countries.

Despite its efforts, the DEA has faced criticism over the years, with some arguing that its enforcement tactics have been overly aggressive and have resulted in civil rights abuses. The agency has also faced scrutiny over its handling of prescription drug abuse, with critics arguing that it has not done enough to address the growing problem of opioid addiction in the United States.

In response to these concerns, the DEA has made a number of changes to its policies and procedures in recent years. It has implemented new guidelines for prescription drug enforcement and has emphasized the importance of working with healthcare providers and other stakeholders to address the problem of prescription drug abuse.

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Last Modified: 04/10/2023


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