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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 1998

DEA At 25: Building on a Tradition of Excellence

photograph of 25th anniversary badgeThe Drug Enforcement Administration, created by Executive Order on July 1, 1973, is marking 25 years of dedication, excellence and achievement, and is looking towards the future with renewed vigor and commitment. Thomas A. Constantine, Administrator of DEA, stated today that "the men and women of DEA are dedicated to serving and protecting the American people by providing the best federal drug law enforcement in communities around the nation."

Constantine said that "at this moment in DEA's proud history, the 4,238 Special Agents of DEA are focused on the law enforcement needs of the American people who have been suffering from the ravages of drug trafficking for far too long. Our first obligation is to ensure that those criminals who are responsible for the devastation of entire communities, neighborhoods and families are brought to justice to face a jury of their victims' peers. Today, far too many Americans have been victimized by international organized criminal groups and the devastation they have visited on American communities. Too many parents have lost children to drugs. Too many children have been caught in the cross-fire, or have lost their dreams and their futures. There has been too much violence, too many broken families and too many people who are virtual prisoners in their own homesall because of the terrible toll that drug trafficking and drug abuse take on good, ordinary people."

DEA was created through Executive Order on July 1, 1973 when several agencies with drug enforcement responsibilities were consolidated. Since 1973, DEA has grown significantly, especially during the last several years. DEA's Special Agent workforce is currently over 4,200, and an additional 267 agent positions are requested in the President's FY 1999 Budget. DEA's current budget is $1.2 billion. "While there have been significant increases in resources and personnel, numbers alone do not tell the full story of DEA," said Administrator Constantine. "DEA has become a more sophisticated, effective law enforcement organization, working in partnership with state, local and foreign law enforcement around the world to identify, target and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking organizations impacting on the United States."

Over the years DEA has remained committed to building partnerships with domestic law enforcement agencies to maximize effectiveness in targeting the world's major traffickers. Since the early 1970s, when the major drug problem facing the nation was heroin, DEA has collaborated with state and local law enforcement through Task Force programs and other enforcement assistance programs such as the recent Mobile Enforcement Team program.

"America faces challenges posed by increasingly sophisticated technology, which is routinely used by drug traffickers today. Advances in encrypted communications make our job more difficult, and unless a solution is reached by our partners in private industry, law enforcement's ability to perform effectively will be entirely negated," the Administrator added.

Constantine continued, " We are committed to working with all segments of American society to ensure that a clear and unequivocal message is developed and delivered to the people of Americaparticularly our young peoplethat illegal drugs bring only devastation and despair to our communities. We recognize that law enforcement is not the entire answer to our drug problem and that it will take all of us working together in our communities to reduce drug abuse. DEA will continue to work with community anti-drug coalitions, educational institutions, churches and parents' organizations to raise public awareness about the terrible consequences of drug abuse."

Overseas, DEA has had a long history of working with foreign police entities in an effort to bring major international organized crime figures to justice.

Administrator Constantine said that "DEA's creation in 1973 came at a time when international organized crime groups were beginning to flourish. In many ways, the creation of DEA came at a fortuitous time because it resulted in the consolidation of many talented individuals into a single-mission agency. That single focus has allowed DEA to concentrate on the critical task of dismantling the increasingly sophisticated organizations that pose a terrible threat to our nation."

"While our accomplishments give us ample reason to be proud" said Constantine, "during the next 25 years, DEA will face major challenges as international organized crime drug trafficking groups attempt to consolidate their power as they flood our country with cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine."

In the course of the next decade, it will also be essential that DEA and other law enforcement organizations are able to meet the challenges posed by increasingly sophisticated technology, which is routinely used by drug traffickers today. Advances in encrypted communications make our job more difficult, and unless a solution is reached by our partners in private industry, law enforcement’s ability to perform effectively will be entirely negated," the Administrator added.

Constantine continued, " We are committed to working with all segments of American society to ensure that a clear and unequivocal message is developed and delivered to the people of America—particularly our young people—that illegal drugs bring only devastation and despair to our communities. We recognize that law enforcement is not the entire answer to our drug problem and that it will take all of us working together in our communities to reduce drug abuse. DEA will continue to work with community anti-drug coalitions, educational institutions, churches and parents’ organizations to raise public awareness about the terrible consequences of drug abuse."

"Our obligation to the American people will continue well into the future. As long as there are drugs available in our communities, DEA will be there. On our 25th Anniversary, our goal is to return America to the drug-free past we enjoyed, while anticipating the challenges of the future."

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