The Drug Enforcement Administration, more commonly recognized as the DEA, is the federal government law enforcement administration tasked with addressing drug abuse and drug crime, policing drug crime, and preventing drug trafficking from coming into and through the United States. Direct from the DEA website, the Mission Statement of the DEA is:
The DEA has many responsibilities and tasks they must perform. The DEA investigates and prepares cases for prosecution against major violators of controlled substance laws. They can do this on national and international levels. The DEA is not bound by state borders.
The DEA investigates, arrests, and prepares prosecution of gang members and drug criminals in general, whether their crimes are drug trafficking-related or not. The DEA also manages national and international drug intelligence programs, designed to gather information on drug problems in certain areas, even if they are on foreign soil.
The DEA performs sting operations, performs seizures of controlled substances or paraphernalia connected to controlled substances, and in general focuses on enforcing the Controlled Substances Act. Needless to say, the DEA has many responsibilities they must perform, and this is a good thing too because this organization in a big way acts as our first line of defense against the harshest of our country’s substance abuse epidemic.
The nation clamored in outrage recently because some of the DEA’s key powers and strengths were taken away from them. This move by Congress was seen as being extremely unpopular and is now being ruthlessly contested.
No less than forty-four state attorneys general asked Congress to immediately repeal a law that essentially stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of their own rights to investigate, arrest, and prosecute in the sector of Big Pharma. Congress took away the DEA’s ability to hold large drug companies accountable after such companies have allowed hundreds of millions of pain pills to spill onto the black market, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.
In a landslide of public outcry, distaste, and contention with Congress’s decisions, state law enforcement officials, DEA agents, and forty-four state attorney generals came together to ask Congress to repeal their new ruling. Many of the individuals contesting Congress’s decision came from places that were hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
The DEA agents, law enforcement officers, and state attorneys general signed a letter from the National Association of Attorneys General to Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, strongly urging Congress to give the DEA their law enforcement rights back when it came to big pharmaceutical companies. This was a law that had initially been approved by unanimous consent in Congress in 2016, so it remains to be seen if Congress will repeal it or not.
The opiate painkiller drugs are the drugs that cause the most harm by far in the United States. These are the substances that kill the most, that addict the most, and that cost the most money to address. What is truly crazy about it all is that such drugs are legal and approved by the U.S. federal government through the FDA.
It comes as no surprise that Congress receives generous donations and active lobbyists from Big Pharma. Congress is hesitant to do anything against the pharmaceutical industry for fear of losing that support. But to actually remove DEA jurisdiction on Big Pharma and to handicap the DEA to no longer be able to investigate Big Pharma in the process is just preposterous.
There must be a watchdog program somewhere. Big Pharma cannot just continue making deadly drugs and feeding them to us forever. We will become even more so an addicted society if some group does not hold pharmaceutical manufacturers accountable for the deadly drugs that they make and sell.