The Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, is the chief organization of the United States involved in the war on drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency was created in July of 1973 under President Richard Nixon. It began with about 1,500 Special Agents and a budget of less than $75 million. By 1974, the DEA expanded to include 43 offices in 31 foreign countries. Today, the DEA has over 5,000 special agents with a budget over $2.3 billion with 87 offices in 63 foreign countries.
The purpose of the DEA was to become the single Federal agency to enforce the nation’s drug laws as provided for by the Controlled Substances Act and control the Government’s anti-drug affairs. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, and other Federal offices were combined and merged to officially become the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The main purpose of the DEA is to not only enforce the United States’ drug laws and regulations, but also to bring to justice those individuals or groups involved in the manufacturing, growing, and trafficking of illegal drugs and controlled substances. The DEA currently has 21 offices on domestic soil which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pheonix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Currently, the DEA is headed by Michele Leonhart, the acting Administrator of the Agency.
The Drug Enforcement Agency currently has twenty-two programs and operations in place which include:
International Drug Enforcement Conference
Since 1986, the Drug Enforcement Agency has been responsible for over 620,000 arrests in the United States alone. They also seized almost 50,000kgs of cocaine, nearly 600kgs of heroin, over 660,000kgs of marijuana, and 1,500kgs of methamphetamine in the 2008 calendar year alone. Aside from its overall goal and purpose to eradicate illegal drugs, it has its own mission statement that it attempts to achieve:
Prosecution of all major violators of the controlled substance laws, both on the national and international levels;
Management of national drug intelligence programs at the Federal, State, local, and international levels;
Seizing and forfeiture of all assets derived from illegal drug trafficking;
Coordination of international drug control programs with the United Nations and Interpol;
Strict enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has also implemented a Diversion Control Program, which is an attempt to curtail and regulate the abuse of prescription drugs and medicines. Many of the legitimately produced and used medical drugs or substances have been subject to abuse and/or addiction, and the DEA is taking provisions and measures to stop the illegal practices concerning prescription medication.
The DEA is responsible for the registration of all manufacturers and producers of controlled substances and implements strict policies regarding the sale, prescription, distributing, and manufacturing of controlled substances and prescriptions. The Drug Enforcement Agency is single-handedly the foremost organization or faction in the ongoing war on drugs in North America.