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DEA Celebrates 45 Years

July 10, 2018

DEA Celebrates 45 Years

July 2018 marks DEA’s 45th anniversary as a federal agency whose mission is to enforce the drug laws and regulations of the United States.

Many things have changed over the past 45 years--the faces and names of DEA employees who work around the globe; the technology and tools that support the mission; and even many laws and regulations the agency enforces. However the mission and the commitment of those who carry it out have remained constant.

Today, DEA’s employees at more than 300 locations in 91 countries around the world, follow in the footsteps of the distinguished civil servants who preceded them. Those who enforce federal drug laws in order to reduce drug abuse and bring violent traffickers to justice, continue this tradition of excellence. That legacy guides the next generation of staff, special agents, investigators and analysts in maintaining DEA’s leadership as the most effective drug law enforcement organization in the world.

As with any large law enforcement organization, the past 45 years have seen many successes as well as sorrow and loss. The successes include the capture and conviction of some of the most notorious and dangerous criminals in the world; dismantling major trafficking organizations; seizing tens of billions of dollars of assets from traffickers and strong bonds with our international and domestic partners. 

Today because of the work DEA does, the professionalism of law enforcement officers and rule of law in the world has spread.  Because of DEA’s work, hundreds of thousands of people have been saved from drug addiction and death and communities have been rescued after being in the grip of drug-fueled foreign cartels, violent gangs, and traffickers. In the drug law enforcement professional community DEA is often considered to be the most respected and capable drug law enforcement organization in the entire world.

DEA has also experienced great loss in its history: 64 individuals working for DEA have lost their lives in the line of duty. While many criminals have been prosecuted,  others continue to escape justice. Society has not solved the root causes of addiction.  DEA has often been able to make an important contribution to cutting short the cycles and spikes of substance abuse, far too many people still become addicted - and often die - from drugs today. This includes drugs we were fighting 45 years ago- such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, as well as new drugs of abuse, such as “designer” psychoactive substances, synthetic drugs like fentanyl, and many others.

Learn about DEA’s past as the agency marks this milestone.  Learn about the incredible personalities that have made DEA what it is and catch a glimpse of DEA’s future.

Begin that journey now by reviewing our history or visiting the DEA Museum and Visitors Center today!

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