DEA's Community Outreach 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 Community Outreach Section provides the public with current and relevant drug information about illicit drug use, the misuse of prescription drugs, drug use trends, and 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 Section 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.
DEA's Community Outreach Strategy
DEA’s Community Outreach 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 and young adults 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 use disorders are significantly reduced.
DEA’s website for teens, www.justthinktwice.com, 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 website for parents, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, 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.
The site features several downloadable publications including “Growing Up Drug-Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention,” “Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Abuse Medicine,” and “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse.”
Campus Drug Prevention
www.campusdrugprevention.gov is DEA’s latest effort to support drug abuse prevention programs on college campuses and in surrounding communities. The website was created for professionals working to prevent drug abuse among college students, including educators, student health centers, and student affairs personnel. In addition, it serves as a useful tool for college students, parents, and others involved in campus communities.
The website offers valuable information, including data, news updates, drug scheduling and penalties, publications, research, national and statewide conferences and events, state and local prevention contacts, and resources available from DEA’s federal partners. The website also includes a “Help a Friend” resource to educate and prepare those who plan to talk to their friends or loved ones about drug use concerns.
For a list of all of DEA’s publications that can be downloaded, go to www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com and click on Publications.
For more information about DEA’s Community Outreach Section, or for more drug prevention resources, contact the Community Outreach Section at 202-307-7936 or by e-mail at Community.Outreach@usdoj.gov.