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An introduction to the history of federal drug enforcement agency

The US Drug Enforcement Administration DEA is the leading law enforcement operation in the country for combating the sale and distribution of narcotics and other illegal drugs.

A Tradition of Excellence: A History of the DEA

Operating under the Department of Justice, DEA enforces federal anti-drug laws and investigates major drug criminals and gangs operating at interstate and international levels. In addition, its effectiveness in curtailing the use of illegal drugs has been questioned.

  1. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization.
  2. The office of diversion control with the help of its various trained officials minimizes all these diversion efforts of legally produced controlled substances. The attack resulted in the death of a few employees from these agencies.
  3. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam — yet he allocated more money than ever to it.

Prior to the creation of the DEA, drug enforcement rested in the hands of two federal offices. The Bureau of Narcotics in the Treasury Department was responsible for the control of marijuana and narcotics, such as heroin. Alarmed by the increasing acceptance of drug use, President Lyndon Johnson introduced legislation that combined the Bureau of Narcotics and the BDAC into one new agency: BNDD was charged with enforcing this new law, which established a single system of control for both narcotic and psychotropic drugs for the first time in US history.

  • Demand Reduction Program Federal drug law enforcement alone will not be sufficient to create an illegal drug free environment;
  • Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted;
  • In response to a worsening overdose epidemic, dozens of U.

It also established five schedules that classified controlled substances according to how dangerous they were, their potential for abuse and addiction and whether they possessed legitimate medical value. In addition, BNDD established Metropolitan Enforcement Groups to encourage sharing undercover personnel, equipment and other resources from different jurisdictions while BNDD provided training and operational support for these units.

In spite of this work by BNDD, President Nixon still was not satisfied with the federal effort to stop the illicit drug trade. While BNDD was the primary enforcer of drug laws, other federal agencies, such as the Customs Service, still had a hand in stopping the flow of drugs.

Anti-heroin campaigns of this time period included Operation Trizo in coordination with the Mexican government. Mexican nationals flew helicopters donated by the US State Department to spray herbicides onto poppy fields in the states of Durango, Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

The campaign lasted two years before Mexican officials called it off because so many people were arrested in the region that it caused an economic crisis for Mexico. Operation Trizo did little to stem the overall rise of drug lords in Mexico, which increasingly became a key trafficker in heroin and amphetamines.

  • In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana;
  • The registration system acts as a check on the illicit use of legally produced substances;
  • Narcotics registration Any medical professionals, manufacturers, researchers or pharmacists can have access to the Schedule 1,2,3,4 and 5 controlled substances only if they register with the DEA.

This represented a shift in anti-drug operations, which in the past had focused more on low-level dealers or an occasional top figure. Also, Miami had become the drug capital of the Western Hemisphere, according to the DEA, because of its geography and cooperative international banks.

Meanwhile, Americans were increasingly trying cocaine.

With the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980, DEA agents received a boost in political support for anti-drug operations. Emboldened by this national effort, DEA launched drug task forces in South Florida and national drug task forces aimed at organized crime syndicates involved in illicit drug operations.

Federal drug agents received greater authority to seize property of suspected drug dealers when Congress adopted the Crime Control Act of 1984. The early 1980s saw the introduction of crack cocaine in the US. By 1989, the crack epidemic was so severe that it helped propel drug abuse into becoming one of the most important pressing social issues the nation.

War on Drugs

At the same time, DEA operations had done little to stem the growth of international drug trafficking organizations operating in the US, including the Medellin and Cali cartels. DEA continued to grow during the 1990s, thanks to support from the administrations of President George H. Bush and President Bill Clinton.

While DEA agents continued to pursue traffickers of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, new anti-drug targets began cropping up in the late 1990s. The most significant development was the array of synthetic drugs that became popular, particularly among young people.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Foremost among these laboratory-produced drugs was Ecstasy, a combination stimulant and hallucinogen sold in tablet form. DEA also began focusing on the growing diversion of legal prescription drugs into the black market.

The War on Drugs Begins

OxyContin, a powerful prescription analgesic, became heavily abused, prompting DEA to implement a National Action Plan to combat diversion and abuse of the drug. The use of steroids by professional athletes launched the problem of performance-enhancing drugs into the national consciousness, culminating in the raid by DEA and other federal officials of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative BALCO near San Francisco—a scandal that would implicate such famous baseball players as Barry Bonds.

  1. Nevertheless, American children could still walk to school in relative safety, worrying only about report cards or the neighborhood bully. Anti-heroin campaigns of this time period included Operation Trizo in coordination with the Mexican government.
  2. It also seized around 49,823. METs provide financial and technical support to various agents.
  3. Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession.
  4. The IDEC was first established in 1983 as an effort to bring together all high level drug enforcement officials throughout the Western hemisphere. DEA is also making continuous efforts to control the illicit drug trade.
  5. On job experience and dedication makes them premier federal drug law enforcement agents.

In Afghanistan, the former base of al Qaeda and its Taliban supporters, DEA has conducted ongoing missions with the US military to help local law enforcement combat poppy production, the source of opium and heroin.