|The Drug Enforcement Administration has a long and proud
history. Today's DEA is built in the successful tradition established by a number of
federal drug agencies that preceded the DEA, ultimately united in 1973.
||The history of drug enforcement in this country is among the
most shameful and disgraceful chapters of American history. The laws were motivated
by racism and the worst kind of ignorance and hysteria, and the enforcement power has
always been used primarily against the most disadvantaged elements of our society.
That tradition continues through the modern day.
Our drug policy is lunacy and it was
built by lunatics. We recommend you read: Historical
References, particularly, The History of
Non-Medical Drug Use in the United States. and the historical portions of The Consumers Union Report on Licit and
|The (Federal) Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established in
July 1930 when President Herbert Hoover appointed Harry J. Anslinger its first
Commissioner of Narcotics, a position he held under four U.S. Presidents, spanning more
than three decades.
||Anslinger was a lunatic. That much seems clear. We
recommend you read the many references to him under Historical References.
|Mr. Anslinger believed that drug control in the United States
was most effectively dealt with as close to the source as possible. Accordingly, he
assigned FBN agents to various ports of entry, and personally reached agreements with the
heads of 20 law enforcement agencies around the world to exchange drug intelligence. These
efforts resulted in a dramatic rise in drug seizures in 1930.
||It resulted in a dramatic rise in seizures because previously
there was very little effort put toward such seizures.
It should be noted that, to this
day, these seizures have not materially diminished supply -- by the DEA's own estimates.
|The FBN's main priorities during this period were cocaine and
opiate cases; because of limited resources and personnel, marijuana cases were not a high
priority. However, the marijuana problem grew during the 1930s.
||The FBN had no legal authority to do anything about marijuana
at the time.
The DEA fails to note that the "marijuana problem" was the
"Mexican problem". As stated by Professor Charles Whitebread, the real
reason for the marijuana laws was not opposition to marijuana, but opposition to the
Mexican immigrants who smoked it. See The
History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States, and The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of
|As the gloom of the Great Depression spread across the United
States, so did the use of marijuana. Concurrently, politicians from states along the
U.S.-Mexican border warned of a marijuana epidemic. By 1936, all 48 states had enacted
legislation to control the cultivation of the cannabis plant, but its production and use
were not prohibited by federal law. In 1937, Congress placed marijuana and hashish in the
category of illegal, federally controlled drugs when it passed the Marijuana Tax Act.
||See the above references for the general history of the
marijuana laws. The DEA's attempt to say that the marijuana laws had something to do
with good sense stretches credulity to say the least. See for example, the full
transcripts for the congressional hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act and Related Papers, taking
particular note of the testimony of Harry Anslinger and Dr. Woodward, the representative
for the American Medical Association.
With the advent of World War II, the Mediterranean Sea was effectively closed to drug
traffic. International trafficking was suppressed to the point that heroin on the streets
of the United States in 1940 was only five percent pure, and many addicts were reported to
be in search of paregoric, an anti-diarrheal containing powdered opium. The heroin
shortage resulted in a rise of thefts from pharmacies, hospitals, and other sources of
legitimate drugs. And for the first time, barbiturates became recognizable as a potential
drug abuse problem.
|The post-war years brought new drug problems to the United
States. Cocaine had been virtually non-existent since 1930, but began showing up at U.S.
ports of entry, and was traced to clandestine factories in Peru. Until 1946, each new drug
that came along, including synthetic drugs, required separate legislation before it could
be controlled. Recognizing the inefficiency of this arrangement, the FBN was given blanket
jurisdiction over all drugs.
||It should be noted here that the drug enforcement agents have
slipped in the notion of "pre-emptive enforcement". In other words, the
situation is so dangerous (they would have us believe) that they must be allowed to make
up prohibitions, without even any public legislative consideration of what the substance
actually is, or what might be the best approach to controlling it.
|In the 1950s, Mexican opium made its way to New York, where it
was refined into heroin, and then distributed to major cities throughout the United
States. FBN agents began to see a rise in addiction in major metropolitan areas during
this time, as well as a drop in the median age of drug offenders. Both the Boggs Act of
1951 and the Narcotic Control Act of 1956 imposed harsher penalties, as well as mandatory
prison sentences, for narcotics violations.
||These two acts followed the general historical pattern of a
perceived drug problem (invariably with no hard statistics to support any conclusion, pro,
con, or indifferent), usually associated with a hated group. In these particular
cases, the hated group was the Communists who, it was feared, were importing drugs to
enslave our youth. As usual, it had no basis in reality. The usual response to
such a perceived problem.
|America's social upheaval and experimentation with drugs in
the early 1960s dictated that a new, tougher approach to fighting drugs was warranted.
Accordingly, in 1966 a new federal enforcement unit, the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control
(BDAC), directed by John Finlator, was created within the Food and Drug Administration.
Its responsibility was to control stimulants such as methamphetamine and various
||In the 1960s large numbers of young people began to experiment
with drugs and something became immediately apparent to a lot of them -- that the drug
enforcement authorities had not been telling the truth. Consequently, they began to
distrust any anti-drug message and openly embraced a pro-drug philosophy in large numbers.
At the same time, the parents of these young people discovered that any policy
which locked up young people for long periods of time over experimental drug use was
fundamentally flawed. See for example, from the Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit
Chapter 38 - How speed was popularized
Chapter 44 - How to launch a nationwide
Chapter 50 - How LSD was
Chapter 51 - How the
hazards of LSD were augmented, 1962-1969
Chapter 57 - America discovers
|In 1968, the Johnson Administration consolidated the FBN and
BDAC by implementing Reorganization Plan Number 1 to establish, under the Department of
Justice, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD).
||In the same year, the British Government conducted its first
major study of the marijuana problem, and found that the current policy was not justified
by the evidence. See the Wootton
|Following this, Richard M. Nixon was elected president, partly
on his promise to restore law and order to the nation.
||Nixon, who also created the DEA, later resigned for failing to
uphold law and order among his own staff.
It was also during this time period that the
CIA began its well-documented collusion with drug traffickers. See, for example, The
Politics of Heroin, by Professor Alfred McCoy, available in your local library. See
also An Interview with Alfred McCoy and The CIA and the Politics of Heroin.
|On October 27, 1970, Congress passed the comprehensive Drug
Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which replaced more than 50 pieces of drug legislation.
Title II of the Act, known as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), gave Congress the
authority to regulate interstate commerce for drugs. It also established five schedules
that classify controlled substances according to their potential for abuse. Drugs were
placed into categories according to how dangerous they were, how great their potential for
abuse, and whether they have any legitimate medical value.
||The reason this law had to be passed was because certain key
elements of the previous laws were declared unconsitutional in the case of (Timothy) Leary
v. US, 1969. As a result, they pass the Controlled Substances Act which took the
previous illogical classifications of drugs, again failed to include alcohol and tobacco
as drugs, and put them under an ostensibly logical "schedule" which supposedly
weighs the medical use against the perceived dangers of the drug.
The falsity of
this entire approach can be seen in the fact that marijuana -- recognized by all serious
authorities as the least dangerous of all the drugs -- is in Schedule 1, warranting the
toughest penalties, and heroin is entirely prohibited even though there is no significant
medical distinction between heroin and legally prescribed morphine.
|During this period, BNDD's budget more than quadrupled. Its
agent force grew to 1,361 by February 1972, and its foreign and domestic arrest totals
doubled. In addition, BNDD had regulatory control over more than 500,000 registrants
licensed to distribute licit drugs. It also had six of the most complete forensic
laboratories in the world.
||As a result, the United States began its climb to being the
world leader in imprisoning its own citizens, particularly those of minority descent.
See the publications of the Sentencing Project.
as a result, the US Government inadvertently nearly eliminated the legal sources of
opiates for legitimate purposes, while doing relatively little to solve the long-term
heroin problems. See The Coughing Crisis
from Agency of Fear.
|Moreover, BNDD was not alone in fighting drugs. The U.S.
Customs Service had a Drug Investigations Unit to deal with drug smuggling. Also, the FBI
was being drawn deeper into the drug war as organized crime became increasingly more
involved in drug trafficking activities.
||It should be noted that the reason organized crime came into
the drug business was because of the tremendous profits behind prohibited drugs -- the
same thing Al Capone discovered in the 1920s.
|Acknowledging the growth of cocaine processing in South
America and heroin refining in Southeast Asia, President Nixon agreed with Congress to
implement Reorganization Plan Number 2, which consolidated all federal anti-drug forces
under a single unified command within the Department of Justice. This elite drug-fighting
organization, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), was created on July 1, 1973.
||This is not the entire truth. The entire drug scare was
a creation of the Nixon administration, created with doctored statistics which seemed to
change as it was politically expedient. The DEA was, in fact, Richard Nixon's
attempt to create his own private extralegal police force which would have broad powers,
outside the realm of anything previously legally allowed in the US, and intended to be
used against his political enemies. For a history of the creation of the DEA in the
Nixon White House, see Agency of Fear.
The DEA was, in fact, the result of a deliberate attempt by Richard M. Nixon and
his staff to subvert the law enforcement system to their own political goals.
|An Executive Order abolished the Bureau of Narcotic and
Dangerous Drugs, the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, and the Office of National
Narcotics Intelligence, and placed their combined functions in the new DEA. (See DEA Genealogy.) This consolidation was undertaken to unify drug
investigations, to create a single federal drug intelligence data base, and to establish
clear liaison between federal drug agents and their state and local, as well as foreign,
counterparts. Twenty years later, the DEA remains the only U.S. agency whose sole mission
is to combat drug trafficking.
||The reason the consolidation was desired was not to be more
effective in the fight against drugs, but to consolidate Nixon's extralegal powers.
The reason it was acheived by Executive Order, rather than by congressional legislation,
was to avoid the public review and evaluation of the idea. See Agency of Fear - Lost Horizons
|Not only is the Drug Enforcement Administration the lead
agency for domestic enforcement of federal drug laws, but it also has sole responsibility
for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad. The DEA is dedicated to
conceptualizing and implementing the most effective drug law enforcement strategy possible
one that complements and energizes our state and local counterparts, and one that charts
the course for and harmonizes the efforts of all other federal agencies with drug
enforcement or drug intelligence responsibilities.
||Bottom line, this is a lot of baloney to cover a lot of
|The DEA also plays a vital role in supporting useful demand
reduction and user accountability programs.
||The "demand reduction" program is primarily an
attempt to influence people not to support efforts at reform. The primary duty of
the "demand reduction" agents is to give presentations about how bad
"legalization" (usually undefined, except to assume the worst on all counts) is.
Oddly enough, when these "demand reduction" agents are called upon to
make a balanced presentation with someone of a differing opinion, they always decline.
The DEA is afraid to discuss this subject in public.
|Given the magnitude and pervasiveness of the illegal drug
problem, one component of a successful drug enforcement strategy is crucial: the need to
work closely with other law enforcement organizations - federal, state, local, and
foreign. In the 1990s, this DEA strategy has formed the basis for mult-iorganizational and
cooperative approaches to better address drug trafficking on a regional, national, and
||By all accounts, the various agencies are still disorganized
and ineffective and, by their own admission, have no hope of stopping, or even
significantly reducing, drug trafficking in the United States.