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A Response to the DEA web site

DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration

DEA Mission Statement


DEA Statement Response
The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and to bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations, and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support nonenforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets. That's a nice sounding statement, but the mission of the drug enforcement authorities in the United States has never been quite that simple.  The truth is that the DEA and its predecessors were primarily the result of the most cynical political ploys, and the history of these agencies is among the dirtiest and most ridiculous chapters of American history. 

For some good examples of this, we invite you read the many Historical References, particularly Professor Whitebread's Piece, The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drug in the United States, as well as the historical portions of   The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, and Dan Baum's excellent work on modern history, Smoke and Mirrors.

In carrying out its mission, DEA is the lead agency responsible for the development of overall Federal drug enforcement strategy, programs, planning, and evaluation. DEA's primary responsibilities include:  
  • Investigation and preparation for prosecution of major violators of controlled substances laws operating at interstate and international levels;
We think you ought to become acquainted with some of the people the DEA has put in jail.  See:

Families Against Mandatory Minimums

The November Coalition

The Prisoners Page

Human Rights 95

  • Management of a national drug intelligence system in cooperation with Federal, state, local, and foreign officials to collect, analyze, and disseminate strategic and operational drug intelligence information;
This wouldn't even be necessary, except for the fact that prohibition has made it immensely profitable for criminals to set up massive drug distribution networks.
  • Seizure and forfeiture of assets derived from, traceable to, or intended to be used for illicit drug trafficking;
If civil forfeiture was being enforced solely against real drug traffickers, this wouldn't be a problem.  But, sadly, that isn't the case.  We recommend that everyone become acquainted with the rampant abuses in this part of the law.   See Forfeiture Endangers American Rights.
  • Enforcement of the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act as they pertain to the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of legally produced controlled substances;
It should be noted that there are severe penalties for illegal drugs, which kill perhaps 10,000 people per year, while there are no penalties for alcohol or tobacco, which kill at least fifty times that many. 

It should also be noted that the Controlled Substances Act is just another face for the same old illogical drug policy.   Alcohol and tobacco are not covered at all.  Heroin is completely prohibited, although there is no significant medical distinction from morphine, which is a legal medical drug.

  • Coordination and cooperation with Federal, state and local law enforcement officials on mutual drug enforcement efforts and enhancement of such efforts through exploitation of potential interstate and international investigations beyond local or limited Federal jurisdictions and resources;
It sure sounds great but, in practical terms, it means very little.   There has been such a history of infighting between various agencies that they actually created a "Drug Czar" (William Bennett was the first one) to try to bring them all together.  Recent news stories consistently indicate that no such unity has yet been achieved and various events hint at extreme disarray in the Drug Czar's office, which never did have the power to achieve what was desired, anyway.
  • Coordination and cooperation with other Federal, state, and local agencies, and with foreign governments, in programs designed to reduce the availability of illicit abuse-type drugs on the United States market through nonenforcement methods such as crop eradication, crop substitution, and training of foreign officials;
This is such things as the marijuana eradication programs which seem to seize more and more every year, and still haven't made a perceptible dent in either the demand or the supply.

If you are interested in some economic humor, look at the grossly inflated values attributed to what they seized.  The DEA commonly attributes the most ridiculous values to what they seized in order to inflate their own importance.   Their most common method of calculation is to quote the value as the total value if the drug was diluted to the maximum limit and then sold in the smallest possible units to the most foolish idiot on the street.  It is the same type of value you would get if you assumed that every tobacco cigarette in the United States was sold individually, at ten dollars each. 

What they fail to notice is that, according to their own value of seizures figures, compared with their estimates of the percentage they actually seize, the total value of the drug business must be far larger than they estimate.

  • Responsibility, under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors, for all programs associated with drug law enforcement counterparts in foreign countries; and
As the Dutch, and now the Australian officials can tell you, this basically means heavy arm-twisting to make other countries fall into line with hard-line US policies.  The DEA does not take kindly to any other countries which want to experiment with any other approach to the drug problem.

When Australia was recently considering heroin maintenance trials, after the good experience in the Swiss heroin maintenance trials, they received visits from American officials who informed them in no uncertain terms that even experimenting with other approaches to heroin would lead the US to take severe repressive actions against the legal Tasmanian opium growers -- who weren't even a party in any way to the proposed heroin trial.

Why would the DEA and its allies do this?  The simple reason is that the current policy, and the DEA's supposed administration of it, is a long-term fraud.  Even a successful heroin trial in far-off Australia is likely to call into question the very basis of the US approach to drugs.

  • Liaison with the United Nations, Interpol, and other organizations on matters relating to international drug control programs.
This is found in the Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics which binds signatory countries to a prohibitionist approach to drugs.  It is most commonly used in the excuse that we can't change our policy because we are bound by the Single Convention Treaty -- never mind the fact that the Single Convention Treaty was a creation of US policy in the first place.


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