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Feds to Up Anti-Drug Local Efforts

December 19, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Drug Enforcement Administration will spend nearly $5 million to double the number of agents in the field who work with local police and community groups on drug prevention, DEA chief Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday.

The aim is to step up the DEA’s role in organizing drug treatment and education programs in cities where the agency has busted drug dealers.

``Agents are tired of dismantling an organization and a year later come back and see that they’ve moved in again or another organization has,″ said Hutchinson.

The DEA now has 22 ``demand reduction″ agents around the country. The goal is to more than double that within two years and have at least one agent in every state.

Hutchinson stressed that pushing treatment and prevention programs would not diminish the DEA’s core law enforcement mission of investigating and arresting drug dealers.

``There should not be any competition between the enforcement side and the demand reduction side,″ he said.

The agency usually waits until after a drug bust to send in agents to work with local communities on drug treatment and prevention programs. Under the new program, ``the DEA will combine the enforcement effort with a partnership alongside any existing community coalitions to have a long-lasting impact to reduce demand through drug prevention and treatment programs,″ according to a program description.

That includes working with communities to set up drug testing programs, drug courts, drug treatment programs and police training.

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On the Net:

Drug Enforcement Administration: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/

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