In the early 1970s, it was clearly evident that drug trafficking and drug abuse, impacted all social and economic levels of American society. Any effort to curtail this epidemic need to be comprehensive and coordinated involving all levels of government, our social institutions, and our workplace. Cooperatively recognizing the need to coordinate drug enforcement efforts, eight Southeastern states joined to form the State Drug Enforcement Alliance in 1970, to meet three distinct needs:
1. To foster greater cooperation and coordination between member agencies by:
The exchange of information
The sharing of ideas and methods for detection and apprehension
The development of legislative issues and effective legislation, and
The support of parent, civic, and school efforts in drug education
2. To provide a mechanism for state drug enforcement input to federal-level policy, procedures, and operations through:
The identification of national drug issues
The development of clear and consistent policy for application and enforcement of federal drug control laws, and
The development of coordination and cooperation with and between federal, state, and local drug enforcement.
3. To provide a forum for state law enforcement and command level personnel operationally involved in drug enforcement to exchange management and information.
The eight participating states initially met to discuss problems within their states, the sharing of intelligence, focusing on investigative techniques, and the development and use of technical investigative equipment. In addition, the consensus views of this representative group began to have an impact on federal policy, federal legislation, and the regional allocation of federal personnel and resources. With other states quickly recognizing the value of such cooperative law enforcement efforts and a unified voice, the organization expanded its membership and in 1984 became chartered as the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies (NASDEA). Membership now includes state-level drug law enforcement representation from all fifty states. NASDEA seeks to improve the sharing of information and enforcement actions not only at the state and local level, but also between member states and at the federal level.
To this end, the Alliance has established and continues a close working relationship with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), the National Governors Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The Alliance’s inclusive state representation and national networking has resulted in NASDEA’s recognition as a major voice in national drug enforcement policy and strategy. Today, NASDEA continues to exchange intelligence information and strategies, which impact both state and federal agencies. A major focus has evolved in the area of narcotics intelligence sharing, which now includes both state and federal sources. The Alliance has also provided focus on the issue of establishing an inclusive federal drug pointer index, which cooperatively involves all federal narcotics enforcement efforts. Dialogue between the Alliance, U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U. S. Attorney General’s Office has led to a commitment by all federal entities to work toward the establishment of this critical investigative tool.
Now, the Alliance’s original three-pronged focus remains a valid strategy as the Alliance continues to encourage cooperation in drug enforcement operations and policy development targeting inter-state, regional, and national issues.