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Drug Enforcement Administration

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What I Know About the Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works to lessen and eliminate the use, transportation, and sale of drugs in the United States. They are the only government organized organization with the purpose of controlling drug traffic. The Drug Enforcement Administration seems to be most known for their role in stopping drug transportation across borders by use of DEA officers, police-trained dogs, and other tools. To my knowledge the DEA may have many other roles, possibly including the elimination of drug manufacturing throughout the world, tracking down and stopping major drug trafficking organizations within the United States border, US territories, and minor outlying islands. I also believe the DEA has an extensive history and has been fairly successful in their operations.

The DEA has also served rolls in popular culture, being used in many movies, television shows, and possibly even music. Movies include appearances in Blue Streak, James Bond, and Swordfish. Some TV shows include NYPD Blue, Monk, CSI, among others.

I believe what I know about the Drug Enforcement Administration is only a minimal portion of what they are responsible for and what effect they have had on society.


My research confirmed a lot of what I know about the DEA, however I discovered a lot more information regarding the organization.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was founded on July 1st, 1973 during Richard Nixon’s administration. The purpose of the DEA was to unify the efforts of the 2 standing drug-related organizations at the time, the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (BDAC) and the federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). The original document created by Richard Nixon concerning the creation of the DEA is shown below.

The first administrator of the DEA was John R. Bartels, Jr. His biggest achievement was unifying the efforts of the existing drug-related organization, which he succeeded greatly in doing. Following John Bartels was the second DEA administrator, Peter B. Bensinger, which led the DEA into the early eighties. During the late seventies and early 80’s, the Drug Enforcement Administration tightened drug controls and expanded its programs.

The eighties saw the introduction of new technology into the DEA, such as CAT (real time vehicle tracking system) and newly available cordless phones. Francis M. Mullen Junior was the acting administrator from 1981 to 1985. In 1982, the Drug Enforcement Administration officially joined forces with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Many drug investigations were successful during this time period, including one bust resulting in the seizure of over 1600lbs of cocaine.

In 1984 and amendment to the Controlled Substances Act was passed. The amendment provided “additional authority for the denial or revocation of a practitioner controlled substance registration based on a demonstration that such registration was contrary to the public interest” as described by the Drug Enforcement Administration history on In 1986, the DEA began one of its most successful programs, the Drug-Free Workplace program. By 1988, over 2,000 drug tests were conducted (including 1,600 random tests) as part of the drug-free workplace program. During the late 1980s and early 1990’s, Americans became more aware of drug use and trafficking, however abuse of the drugs increased significantly. President George H.W. Bush focused national efforts on a plan to cut both the supply and demand of illegal drugs.

Cocaine and crack were the number one problem facing the DEA. The Columbian mafia was running a large cocaine operation, and many of the criminals involved were brought to justice. In the 80s, heroin production doubled, and caused a major problem for the Drug Enforcement Administration.



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