Prevention » Program Overview

Demand Reduction Section

DEA’s primary mission and responsibility as a law enforcement agency is to enforce the Nation's federal drug laws.

DEA recognizes that not only reducing the quantity (supply) of drugs is essential to a safe and drug free country, but also reducing the desire (demand) for illicit drugs is a vital component to effectively reduce drug use in our Nation. For that reason, DEA created the Community Outreach Section as a critical complement to our primary law enforcement mission and included drug use prevention as one of the seven priorities in DEA’s vision:

"Support initiatives to reduce the demand for drugs and give assistance to
community coalitions and drug prevention initiatives."

DEA’s Demand Reduction Section provides the public with current and relevant drug information about illicit drug use, the misuse of prescription drugs, drug use trends, as well as the health consequences of drug use.

The Community Outreach Section also develops drug information brochures, drug fact sheets, pamphlets and parent/teacher drug education guides to assist the community in identifying drug use and finding help.

Another major component of the Community Outreach program is collaboration with various drug use prevention partners. These partners include other federal agencies, national and regional prevention organizations, law enforcement organizations, community coalitions, fraternal and civic organizations, youth-serving organizations, state and local governments, and school districts. DEA supports our partners, who present significant opportunities for involvement in prevention efforts, by providing drug trend information at local community events as well as at national conferences and professional educational forums.

The Community Outreach Section Strategy

The Community Outreach Section strategy is to develop and disseminate effective drug information for youth, parents, caregivers, and educators, and to increase the public’s awareness about the dangers associated with using drugs.  There are three major concepts of drug use prevention research at the core of this strategy:

  • Parents and teens alike need to know that the brain continues to develop to age 25. In particular, the frontal cortex, which carries out mental processes such as thinking, decision making, and judgment, is not fully developed until that age; therefore, it’s vitally important that youth and young adults refrain from drug use as this use will affect brain development.
  • When youth perceive that drug use is harmful and risky, drug use dramatically declines.
  • The longer youth and young adults delay drug use, addiction and/or substance abuse disorders are significantly reduced.

DEA provides essential information about the harmful effects of illicit drug use through our educational materials and two websites, for teens, and for parents, educators, and caregivers.

DEA’s teen website,, provides credible information about the harmful effects of drug use. The site includes information about various drugs, including facts and fiction about drugs, the consequences of drug use, as well as topics about addiction, impaired driving, and true stories about teens that have had drug problems.

The site provides descriptions of specific drugs, such as marijuana, Spice/K2, bath salts, and heroin, as well as the drugs’ street names, effect on the mind and body, overdose effects, legal status, and origin.

DEA’s parent website,, provides valuable drug education information for parents, educators, and caregivers to further help identify drug use, drug paraphernalia, warning signs of drug use, and the harmful side effects of the most commonly abused drugs. site features several downloadable publications including “Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Abuse Medicine and “Marijuana Concentrates - Also Known As THC Extractions.”

For a list of all of DEA’s publications that can be downloaded, go to and click on Publications.

For more information about DEA’s Community Outreach Program, or for more drug prevention resources, contact the Community Outreach Section at 202-307-7936 or e-mail


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