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 Demand Reduction Section as a critical complement to our primary law enforcement mission and included drug 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 concerns and consequences of drug abuse.

The Demand Reduction 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 Demand Reduction program includes collaboration with various drug 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 Demand Reduction Section Strategy

Three major concepts of drug prevention research are the core of the Demand Reduction Section strategy to develop and disseminate effective drug information for youth, parents and caregivers. At the core of the strategy is essential information about the harmful effects of illicit drug use.

  • Parents and teens alike need to know that the teen brain continues to develop to age 25. In particular, the frontal cortex, the area of judgment is not fully developed until that age; therefore, it’s vitally important that teens refrain from drug use as this use will effect brain development.
  • When youth perceive that drug use is harmful and risky, drug use dramatically declines.
  • The longer a child delays drug use, addiction and/or substance abuse disorders are significantly reduced.

DEA increases the public’s awareness about the dangers associated with using drugs through our educational materials and two websites, for teens, and for parents, educators, and caregivers.

DEA’s teen website,, provides creditable information about the harmful effects of drug use. The site includes a summary of various drugs including a section on facts and fiction about drugs, the consequences of using drugs with topics on addiction, impaired driving, and true stories of teens that have had drug problems.

Descriptions of specific drugs, such as marijuana, nonmedical use of prescription drugs, spice/k2, bath salts, and heroin, provide easy to read information on the street names, the drug’s appearance and 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 abuse, and the harmful side effects of the most commonly abused drugs. site features several downloadable publications including “Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention,” 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 Demand Reduction Program, or for more drug prevention resources, contact the Demand Reduction Section at 202-307-7936 or e-mail


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