About the Drug Enforcement Administration

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federally funded agency that was created in the 1970s to help enforce substance laws throughout the United States, and to manage the availability of illicit substances on a domestic and international level. The mission of the DEA is to stop the trafficking of illicit substances into and within the United States, and bring those criminally responsible for growing, manufacturing and distributing these substances to justice. In order to fulfill their mission, the DEA has taken on a number of responsibilities, including:

  • Managing a complex drug intelligence program
  • Investigating and prosecuting drug rings and criminals who are acting in violation of the controlled substances laws and threaten violence in our communities
  • Enforcing the Controlled Substances Act
  • Coordinating with other federal, state and local agencies to reduce the availability of all illicit drugs
  • Coordinating with international agencies to help identify solutions to international drug control issues

Formed in 1973 by President Richard Nixon, the goal of the Drug Enforcement Administration was to declare war on “the drug menace” that affects our nation. While the agency started off small, with less than 1,500 agents, as the years have passed, and with an increased need to reduce the availability of drugs within our country, it is has progressively grown.

From its inception to today, the administration has identified a number of new narcotics problems which have begun to plague the country, and have shifted their focus based on the usage of these drugs. For instance, in the late 1970s, heroin was of extreme concern to special agents, as it was quickly taking hold of thousands. However, as the millennium passed the agency began to notice that a new epidemic had taken over in the form of methamphetamine. The ever-changing world of illegal drug usage and their availability certainly have made this agency vital to our nation.

Because the drug problem of the nation are a constant presence, and because the Drug Enforcement Agency has proven their capability to aid in this battle they have continued to grow. With an overall budget of over $2 billion and about 5,000 agents, the DEA is successfully waging war on drugs and will continue to do so far into the future.


DEA Jurisdiction & Investigative Priorities