Drug Law Enforcement

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The nature of proactive law enforcement strategy is that it requires police officers or agents to walk out into the streets and seek out any indications of criminal behavior. It is this aspect of police work that makes it easy for corruption to permeate into the police ranks as the process of seeking and monitoring crime requires officers to conceal their identities. In the process of working undercover, a police officer may at times overlook various infractions that are only known to him. Such police officers can participate in various forms of illegal transactions usually for the benefit of self. Proactive policing provides little room for police department heads to supervise their foot soldiers, thus exposing the agencies to various forms of the graft (Abadinsky, 2008).

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The problem of using police informants in drug law enforcement is that most of them are criminals in themselves. Such criminals usually have ulterior motives such as the desire to drive competition out of business, the opportunity to get financial rewards or exert vengeance on an enemy (Gray, 2001). However, informants often offer information in a bid to secure leniency or immunity for their criminal actions. Such an operational tactic in law enforcement agencies raises major ethical issues and dilemmas since it is not easy to ascertain which authority should be used to grant leniency to a confidential informant (Rosenbaum, 2014). In looking at proactive law enforcement strategies, the use of informants creates more blurred lines in police work since they can be used as scapegoats for the illegal activities of rogue officers and enforcement agents (Abadinsky, 2008).

The legal foundation for federal drug law crimes and violations is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 with its accompanying amendments. It is commonly known as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The U.S federal law with its subsequent modifications requires the pharmaceutical industry to maintain a database and record of some drugs. The CSA is a consolidation of numerous laws to regulate the production as well as the distribution of narcotics, depressants, stimulants, anabolic steroids, and hallucinogens. Chemicals used to produce drugs are also closely monitored by the government. The Act has instituted a mechanism that can be used to allocate chemical substances in a specific schedule as seen fit (Gray, 2001).

Civil forfeiture has been criticized for its ability to affect innocent third parties. It is also known to provide legal options for drug kingpins to device plea-bargain strategies, thus effectively escaping law enforcement measures and penalties such as incarceration. It also allows corruption to thrive in security agencies as it allows for money and property to be easily transferred from criminal entities to the state without following due process (Rosenbaum, 2014). In addition to law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration is designed to work together with federal, state, local, and foreign officials towards the management of a national drug intelligence network. As such, it can design and disseminate strategic as well as tactical intelligence to the U.S law enforcement agencies. It is also responsible for regulating the legal trade in controlled substances as defined by the law. The DEA records and inspects the operational activities of drug manufacturers and distributors (Abadinsky, 2008).

The categories of street-level drug enforcement are community-wide, hot spots policing, and geographically focused. Community-wide policing involves the integration of members of the community in fighting against drug abuse while geographically focused policing is designed to target a specific area of jurisdiction. Hot spots policing seeks to act on areas, which register a high incidence of crime (Abadinsky, 2008).


Abadinsky, H. (2008). Drug use and abuse. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Gray, J. (2001). Why our drug laws have failed and what we can do about it. Philadelphia [Pa.]: Temple University Press.

Rosenbaum, C. (2014). Sub-Federal Enforcement of Immigration Law: An Introduction to the Problem of Pretextual Enforcement and Inadequate Remedies. Laws, 3(1), 61-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/laws3010061

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