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Drug Enforcement Administration

  • By: Thomas E. Baker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Prior to the establishment of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a fragmented approach to fighting the “War on Drugs” existed in the United States. The DEA has 227 field offices, 80 offices in 58 countries, and approximately 5,600 Special Agents. Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice, the DEA is the lead agency on the domestic enforcement of drug policy, and tasked with the war on drug smuggling entering the United States borders.

The DEA emerged under an agency reorganization plan signed by President Richard Nixon on March 28, 1973. The plan consolidated and reorganized a federal agency to coordinate the government's drug control mission. Prior to the development of the DEA, there were several overlapping agencies. Moreover, during that era, the president's reorganization ...

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