Recognizing the need to coordinate state drug enforcement efforts, NASDEA had its beginnings through the effort of Southeastern states joining to form the State Drug Enforcement Alliance in 1975. These agencies met to discuss the challenges experienced within their states, the sharing of intelligence and investigative techniques, and the development and use of technical investigative equipment to further enforcement efforts. The consensus views of this representative group had an impact on federal policy, federal legislation, and the regional allocation of federal personnel and resources.
The State Drug Enforcement Alliance sought to meet three distinct needs:
With the successes realized by the Alliance, other states recognized the value of such cooperative law enforcement efforts and a unified voice about the challenges of addressing the drug threat. The Alliance expanded its membership and in 1984 was chartered as the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies (NASDEA).
Membership now includes state-level drug law enforcement representation from all fifty states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States working together to keep their states and Americans safe from dangerous drugs and those involved in trafficking them. NASDEA seeks to improve the sharing of information, efforts to enforce the dangerous drug laws, and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing availability of illicit controlled drugs not only at the state and local level, but also between member states and at the federal level.
NASDEA expanded its efforts to influence national drug policy through the establishment of close working relationships with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition ( NNOAC), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), and National Governors Association. NASDEA’s inclusive state representation and national networking has resulted in its recognition as a major voice in national drug enforcement policy and strategy. Today, NASDEA continues to exchange intelligence information and strategies impacting both state and federal agencies. NASDEA was requested in 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security to be a member of their State and Local Intelligence Council (SLIC). A NASDEA member has been designated to participate on the Council.
NASDEA’s original three-pronged focus remains a valid strategy as the Alliance continues to encourage cooperation in drug enforcement operations and policy development to address inter-state, regional, and national issues.
Information updated or edited by NASDEA’s most tenured member Director Roy Mckinney, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. A NASDEA member since 1998.