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What does the DEA do?

The United States federal government has taken strides to protect Americans against drug abuse. The largest step they’ve taken toward progress is the establishment of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Formed during the summer of 1973, the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for dealing with drug smuggling and drug abuse within the United States. It is under the U.S. Department of Justice and works directly with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additionally, the DEA has been given the power to conduct United States drug investigations internationally.


The Drug Enforcement Administration is responsible for inhibiting drug trafficking within the United States of America. Obviously, drug smuggling and substance abuse is a problem not easily combatted. Nevertheless, the DEA has thousands of agents working day and night to keep the streets of America free from illicit drugs. The tasks assigned to those working at the DEA varies by department, but as a whole, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s sole purpose is to lower abuse rates and death counts associated by drug abuse within the United States.

Within the DEA, there are various criminal justice divisions that make up the greater structure of the department. There are twenty-one domestic divisions within the United States, each division located close to a densely populated city. For example, there is a DEA domestic division located in the heart of Washington D.C. rather than in the heart of Alexandria, VA, a suburb of D.C. There are seven divisions under the Administrator and Deputy Administrator. These divisions include the human resource division, the operations division, the intelligence division, the financial management division, the operational support division, the inspection division, and finally the field division offices. Within each individual sector of the DEA, there are hundreds of criminal justice jobs and job opportunities for those seeking employment.

Gaining employment at the Drug Enforcement Administration, especially if seeking a career as a special agent, is competitive but all are welcome to apply for the six main positions: student/entry level positions, professional and administrative positions, intelligence research specialists, forensic scientist positions, diversion investigators, and special agent positions. Each career designation has its own set of qualifications that applicants must either meet or succeed in order to be considered for the position. Aside from the requirements that are specific to each designation field, each applicant, regardless of their desired position, must meet the following requirements: must be a U.S. citizen, must pass a DEA-administered drug test, must successfully pass a background investigation, must complete the DEA Drug Questionnaire and Drug Use Statement in order to show his or her compliance with the DEA Drug Policy, and must register with the Selective Service System if male and born after December 31, 1959.

Working with the Drug Enforcement Administration means that you are dedicated to the elimination of current and prevention of future drug trafficking in the United States of America. While careers at the DEA offer above average salaries and government-standard benefits to all employees, the job process is rigorous. In addition to passing a serious of regulatory assessment screenings prior to even beginning the actual job application process, each career at the DEA requires both physical and mental dedication. Furthermore, in order to become a special agent at the DEA, you must pass a physical fitness assessment in addition to being selected by your local recruiter for outstanding performance.

Jobs at the DEA are excellent career paths for anyone interest in criminal justice. Although it is more difficult to become a special agent, local offices are located across the nation and are usually hiring entry level positions. The best way to start is from the bottom and to work your way up. If interested, contact your local recruiter today for more information on how to acquire employment at the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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