DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration

The DEA Demand Reduction Program

DEA Statement Response
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is actively involved in drug prevention and education efforts designed to reduce the demand for drugs in this country. These efforts are coordinated through DEA’s Demand Reduction Program, which was formally created in 1986. The Program was created in response to the realization that in order to mount a comprehensive attack against the drug problem, efforts must be undertaken to reduce the demand for drugs and to prevent drug abuse before it occurs. To that end, the mission of DEA’s Demand Reduction Program is to provide leadership in coordinating and facilitating the involvement of law enforcement and the community in drug prevention and education activities. As you read on, you will see that much of the DEA's "demand reduction" program has nothing to do with demand reduction at all.  Instead, it is intended to promote their own political agenda and to feather their own nest.
DEA’s Demand Reduction Program is operated by DEA Special Agents, who are known as Demand Reduction Coordinators (DRCs), located in each of the agency’s 22 field divisions. The DRCs’ role is to provide leadership and support to local agencies and organizations as they develop drug education and prevention programs designed to meet their specific needs. As Special Agents, the DRCs bring a unique perspective to the drug prevention arena. They have a clear understanding of the overall drug situation, and a broad range of experience in working with other law enforcement agencies, as well as civic and business organizations. The DRCs share this knowledge and expertise with groups which want guidance and direction on how to start and operate drug prevention programs. We have been to numerous presentations by various Demand Reduction Coordinators.  In every case, we have been shocked at their lack of knowledge of basic issues.  For example, we have yet to run across even one DRC who has read any of the Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.  We have found a few agents who were aware that one or two of these studies had been conducted but, in every case, they were either totally unaware of the contents, or had been told by their superiors that the reports supported the DEA's policies.
With input from the DRCs, the Demand Reduction Section at DEA Headquarters designates priority areas in which to concentrate drug prevention and education activities. The current national priority areas are Anti-Legalization Education, Law Enforcement Training, Youth Programs, Drugs in the Workplace, and Coalitions. We welcome the chance to discuss the anti-legalization education with the DEA in any public forum and we have asked them to come to every public presentation we attend.  The DEA consistently refuses to speak in any public forum where they are likely to have someone question their conduct and policies.
Anti-Legalization Education: Although polls indicate that the public strongly opposes any move to legalize drugs, legalization continues to be advocated by some and widely discussed among others. As a result, DEA has become actively involved in the legalization debate to heighten public awareness about the issues surrounding the misconceptions about legalizing drugs. To provide a better understanding of these issues, DEA has developed a publication called Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization, which is a how-to guide that assists law enforcement officials and community leaders in framing arguments against legalization. This publication is also a good resource guide because it provides the reader with reliable, well-documented facts and figures that counter many of the legalization experts’ claims. In addition to the Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization guide, DEA provides anti-legalization training and workshops to law enforcement groups and community organizations to help them prepare for discussing the legalization issue in a public forum. This is the primary purpose of the "Demand Reduction Program" - a blatant attempt to persuade the American public to support a political agenda which directly benefits the DEA.  It isn't working very well.  They refuse to come out for any presentation where they might thave some opposition - knowing they will be beaten.
Law Enforcement Training: DEA has taken a leadership role in providing drug demand reduction training to law enforcement organizations. Through this effort, DEA seeks to show law enforcement officers how they can impact the drug problem outside of the enforcement arena by assisting their local communities in developing drug prevention and education strategies. To that end, the DRCs serve as instructors in state and local law enforcement academies and schools and at training programs for Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Officers. They also provide assistance to state demand reduction coordinators and conduct training at state and national conferences for organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the National Crime Prevention Council. The DARE program is another pork barrel project which, like drugs themselves, feels good at the time but provides no lasting benefit.  The Federal Government's own studies show that DARE either has no effect on drug use by children or may actually increase the tendency to use drugs.  Studies by the State of California found that the older students got, the less they believed the DARE officers.  By the senior year in high school, more than 90 percent reported that the DARE officers had little or no credibility.  See the DARE page, the DRCNet DARE page, and the Schaffer Library DARE page.
Youth Programs: DEA strongly supports well-designed youth programs that help children to stay drug-free. According to the 1994 report of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study, drug use among our youth has been on the rise for the past three years, following a number of years of decline. With this disturbing trend in mind, DEA’s emphasis is to provide children with the tools that they need to resist the pressure to use drugs. If the DEA is running these programs, and drug use by youths has been increasing, the obvious seems to be: the DEA and other law enforcement agencies are not the best people to be trying to run drug education.
DEA supports the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program as a well-organized effort to reach youth with effective prevention messages and to heighten their awareness of the risks of drug use. In addition, DEA’s Network 3 program provides minority and high-risk youth in inner city schools in Camden, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., with a variety of positive activities as alternatives to drugs. DEA also works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles for children. As an active partner of the Law Enforcement Explorer Program of the Boy Scouts of America, DEA provides structure and direction for youth with an interest in law enforcement careers. DEA also utilizes the positive influence of coaches -- from youth leagues to professional -- on athletes as a tool to combat drug abuse. Through this effort, DEA provides training for high school coaches to help them develop drug prevention programs for their school athletic programs, and works with high profile sports figures on anti-drug initiatives. In addition to these efforts, the DRCs participate in school adoption and mentoring programs, as well as programs that recognize the positive accomplishments of young people who remain drug-free. DARE is a failure.  All of the Federal Government's own research agrees on that.

See the DARE page, the DRCNet DARE page, and the Schaffer Library DARE page.

Drugs in the Workplace: Drug abuse costs business and industry billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, accidents on the job, and absenteeism. To help employers understand and identify drug use on the job, as well as develop drug prevention programs for the workplace, the DRCs, in cooperation with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, provide drugs in the workplace training conferences and seminars to companies throughout the country. Through this effort, employers can make the workplace safer and more productive by detecting drug abuse and working to resolve it through anti-drug programs in the workplace. The DEA has no accurate figures at all on what the costs of drugs to business might actually be.  When they say "billions of dollars" they are simply pulling numbers out of the air to try to bolster their own interests.

The truth is that the biggest cost to business from any drug comes from alcohol.  Some analysts have also estimated that tobacco smokers are 15 percent less productive than non-smokers, because of the time spent smoking.  The cost of illegal drugs to business is only a few percentage points of the costs of alcohol and tobacco -- and, of course, the DEA doesn't worry about alcohol or tobacco at all.

Coalitions: DEA works closely with communities interested in establishing community coalitions to address the drug problems that plague their neighborhoods. In the development of these coalitions, DEA stresses the need for the involvement of all segments of the community -- law enforcement, schools, government, business and industry, churches, and the media -- in order to mount a coordinated response to local drug-related issues. To support local coalitions, DEA provides guidance in establishing them, and was a major participant in founding coalitions in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Richmond, Virginia. DEA also provides training on strategy development and resource identification to members of community-based coalitions. This is a public relations campaign which, at best, has only temporary impact in limited areas.  For a good description of what happens when the DEA moves into a community to solve problems see A View From the Front Lines of the Drug War, by Judge Volney Brown.

DRCNet Response: We will be obtaining copies of the reports below and we will include them on this web site -- with rebuttal.

In conjunction with the Demand Reduction Program, DEA has produced a number of publications that provide general information and guidance on issues in the drug prevention arena. A brief description of each follows.

1. A National Strategy for DEA’s Demand Reduction Program: A detailed explanation of the mission of the program and national priority areas. (16 pages)

2. Demand Reduction Program Annual Report, 1994: Highlights program activities and accomplishments. (29 pages)

3. Anabolic Steroids and You: Discusses the dangers of using anabolic steroids and emphasizes that possession is a federal violation. (Pamphlet)

4. Challenges and Opportunities in Drug Prevention: A resource guide for law enforcement officers. Co-produced with the National Crime Prevention Council. (219 pages)

5. Drug Abuse Prevention for Explorers: A Guidebook: Combines information about the coed Law Enforcement Explorer program of the Boy Scouts of America with examples of drug prevention programs. (23 pages, currently under revision; supply is limited.)

6. LSD -- It Never Went Away: An explanation of what LSD is, how it affects users, and how its popularity has increased among our youth. (6 pages)

7. Team Up: A Drug Prevention Manual for High School Athletic Coaches: A detailed manual for coaches seeking to start drug prevention programs for their athletes. Also stresses the involvement of parents. (47 pages)

8. You Can’t Trust CAT: An explanation of what “cat” (methcathinone) is, its effects, how it is used, and the penalties for manufacture or possession. (Pamphlet)

9. Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization: A resource guide presenting DEA’s anti-legalization position. (42 pages)

10. Controlled Substances/Uses and Effects: Color chart (11" X 17") which enumerates all controlled substances, their categories, uses, effects, and Schedules under the Controlled Substance Act.

11. LSD Blotter Designs: Color chart (11" X 17") which gives examples of LSD blotter designs in use on the street.

To receive copies of these publications or additional information about DEA’s Demand Reduction program, call the Demand Reduction Section at 202-307-7936.

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