The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and 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. The DEA also exercises oversight authority over individuals and entities involved in the prescribing, dispensing, or distribution of controlled substances, including manufacturers, distributors, prescribing practitioners, and pharmacies, and brings criminal, civil, or administrative sanctions against the registrants who operate outside the law. Additionally, the DEA recommends and supports non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.
In 1968 the Justice Department’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was formed. At the time, the organization was composed of personnel from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (Treasury Department) and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (Food and Drug Administration) of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In 1973 the Drug Enforcement Administration was created by merging the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, elements of the U.S. Customs Service that worked in drug trafficking intelligence and investigations, and the Narcotics Advance Research Management Team.
The major functions of DEA are to:
- Investigate and prepare for the prosecution of major violators of controlled substances laws operating domestically and internationally, including those involved in gangs and who perpetrate violence within U.S. communities and linked to regional cells, global drug cartel networks, as well as narco-terrorism organizations.
- Coordinate with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement counterparts through task forces, mutual investigations, information sharing, resource sharing, de-confliction, and training, all of which serve to extend DEA’s capabilities and limited resources.
- Coordinate with foreign governments through bilateral counter-drug investigations and capacity-building activities with host nation counterparts.
- Prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources while ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs.
- Perform community outreach through local partnerships that help communities counter recurring drug and violent crime problems that can resurface after drug enforcement actions.
- Deny drug revenues and ill-gotten gains to drug trafficking organizations in order to disrupt trafficking activities and reduce drug availability.
Drug Enforcement Leadership
- Serve as a model for a variety of international and domestic drug law enforcement training efforts by continuously developing new curricula and modifying the specific courses to adapt to real world applications.
- Serve in a leadership and coordination role with other U.S. federal agencies and foreign governments for all international drug control programs and investigations, under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors.
- Deliver sophisticated laboratory analytical services in chemistry, digital forensics and latent prints and provide essential forensic information for the DEA and other federal agencies.
- Maximize and deliver cutting-edge investigative technology and provide superior innovative operational support for DEA and other federal agencies.
- Register persons who handle controlled substances or listed chemicals, conduct routine complex regulatory inspections, provide information and guidance to registrants, and control and monitor the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, import, and export of controlled substances and listed chemicals.
- Provide quotas for the legitimate medical, scientific and industrial needs for each class of Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances.
- Educate pharmacists, technicians, researchers, specialists, and practitioners on preemptive steps that can be taken to prevent diversion.
Proactively institute temporary drug scheduling actions to address emerging drug threats; allowing the DEA to temporarily schedule the drug in schedule I to quickly protect public health and safety, while pursuing the normal channels of permanently scheduling dangerous substances with abuse potential and no accepted medical use.
- Lead a national drug intelligence program in cooperation with federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign officials to obtain, analyze, and disseminate strategic and operational drug intelligence information.
- Manage a vast world-wide human/confidential source network and a robust judicial intercept program that positions the DEA to act quickly, effectively, and proactively to reach beyond our U.S. borders to identify, investigate, and prosecute those that threaten the safety and interests of our country’s citizens at home and abroad.
- Share national security information, obtained through the execution of drug enforcement operations, with federal partners, including the Intelligence Community.
- Manage the nationwide de-confliction system mandated for all Department of Justice agencies and also used by thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement personnel throughout the United States.
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