Policy and Enforcement/      Drug Trade/       Pharmaceutical Industry

In 1998, the UN estimated that revenue from the illicit drug trade exceeded $400 billion each year.  Likewise, Forbes named the pharmaceutical industry, responsible for the legal production and distribution of drugs, as one of the most profitable industries in the U.S.  In 2011, in the midst of one of the worst financial meltdowns since the Great Depression, the pharmaceutical industry projected a 5-7% increase in sales.

U.S. anti-drug policy has waivered with each presidential administration between a full-blown war on users to softer approaches focused on treatment and prevention.  Despite the shifting focus and prioritization of anti-drug policy, eradication programs, intercepting drugs in transit and criminal penalties have been pillars of combating the illegal drug trade.  However, efforts to prevent the sale and distribution of drugs have met with little success.

In 2010, an estimated 22.6 million Americans abused illegal drugs; the number of drug related overdoses rose 540% since 1980.  Illegal use of prescription medication, also, spiked with a 500% increase since 1990.  Prescription medication, however, is a major source of economic growth in the U.S. and has had a dramatic impact on domestic and international health services.

To understand the impact of illegal and legal drugs on society, the IC has compiled a clearinghouse of primary and secondary documents detailing U.S. drug policy, the drug trade and the pharmaceutical industry.

U.S. Drug Policy

Policy/    Enforcement

Federal legislation and presidential directives have largely determined the substances classified illegal and the programs and operations necessary to combat their distribution and use.  State laws, however, are challenging and changing federal drug policy.  Federal and state legislation dictating drug policy and the organizations and operations responsible for enforcing them are detailed in this section.


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources

“Crime Control Act of 1990” (P.L.101-647, 29 Nov. 1990)

“Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970” Title 21 United States Code, Chapter 13, Subsection I-Control and Enforcement.

Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, 2011.

Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, 2009.

Lauve, Ronald F. “Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement” testimony, July 28 1983, before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Committee of the Judiciary.

Executive Office of the President, 2012 National Drug Control Strategy.

Executive Office of the President, 2010 National Drug Control Strategy (Obama administration’s inaugural policy).

Department of Homeland Security, Counternarcotics Doctrine, June 2010.

White House, General Counterdrug Intelligence Plan, February 2000.

Halbrook, Stephen. “Military Enforcement of Drug Laws Under the Posse Comitatus Act,” 1 Drug Law Report 121-129 (Sept./Oct. 1984).

Rishel, Eric.  “Unleashing High-Tech Weaponry in the Drug War:  Posse Comitatus, the Fourth Amendment and Enhanced Sensing.”  Dissertation:  USMC Judge Advocate Officer School.  1992.

Allen, Charles.  “Tightening America’s Borders:  An Increased Drug Interdiction Role for the Military”.  Strategy Research Project:  US Army War College.  1998.

Anderson, Tammy.  Presidential Timeline of Federal Drug Legislation in the United States.  CRJU 369:  Alcohol, Drugs and Crime.  2/13/09.


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources

“Drug Enforcement Administration:  Were Criminal Investigations Swayed by Political Considerations?”  Hearing before the Committee on Government Reform.  House of Representatives.  106th Congress.

Lee, Gregory.  Global Drug Enforcement: Practical Investigative Techniques (Practical Aspects of Criminal & Forensic Investigations) Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.

ed. Fournier, Eddie. Drug Law Enforcement Strategies: Law Enforcement Officials on Adapting to Changing Drug Trends, Developing Effective Investigations, and Balancing Local and Federal Goals (Inside the Minds) Thomson Reuters/Aspatore, 2011.

Levine, Michael. Deep Cover: The Inside Story of How DEA Infighting, Incompetence and Subterfuge Lost Us the Biggest Battle of the Drug War. iUniverse, 2000.

Henning, James. Practical Narcotics Investigations: For the Uninformed Officer To The Experienced Detective. Xlibris Corp, 2005.

Lord, Suzanne.  Drug Enforcement Agents.  Silver Burdett Press, 1989.

Department of Justice.  “The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Clandestine Laboratory Cleanup Program”.  Office of the Inspector General:  Audit Division.  Audit Report 10-29.  June 2010.

Drug Enforcement Administration.  “Drug Enforcement Handbook”.  Department of Justice:  DEA.  July 28, 2009.

Drug Enforcement Administration

National Drug Intelligence Center

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program

“A Guide to the Executive Office for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces”.  Laws.com.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Drug Trade

Supply Lines/     Traffickers

This section details the international and domestic drug trade and the organizations responsible for the supply lines of illegal substances.

Supply Lines

Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources

“World Drug Report 2010”.  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. United Nations: New York.  2010.

“Drug Trafficking”.  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  United Nations:  New York.

Zhang, Yong-an. “Asia, International Drug Trafficking, and U.S.-China Counternarcotics Cooperation“.  Brookings Institution, 2012.


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources

Mexican and Colombian Drug Cartels.  FBI Library Subject Bibliography. May 2010.

Williams, Phil and Felbab-Brown, Vanda.  “Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability”.  Strategic Studies Institute:  US Army War College.  April 2012.

Cook, Colleen W.  “Mexico’s Drug Cartels”.  Congressional Research Services:  Report for Congress.  10/16/07.

“Combating International Drug Cartels:  Issues for US Policy”.  Congressional Research Services:  Report for the Caucus on International Narcotics Control.  5/8/1987.

Marcy, William L. The Politics of Cocaine: How U.S. Foreign Policy Has Created a Thriving Drug Industry in Central and South America. Chicago Review Press. 2/1/10.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Organizations/      Products/       Lobbying

In 2010, over half of Americans used a prescription medication on a regular basis and 1/3 of Americans used two or more prescription medications daily.  The pharmaceutical industry spends million in lobbying expenses to influence politics and ensure the profitability of their industry.  This section details the political influence of the pharmaceutical industry and their impact on health and human services.


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources


Primary Sources/     Secondary Sources