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Citizen Brief: The Drug Enforcement Administration

Diversion Control Program

The mission of the DEA’s Diversion Control Program:


The mission of the DEA’s Diversion Control Program is to prevent, detect, and investigate the redirection from legitimate channels of controlled pharmaceuticals (such as narcotics, stimulants, and depressants) and certain listed chemicals (such as ephedrine). Federal law requires the DEA to recover “the full costs of operating the various aspects” of its Diversion Control Program through the fees charged to DEA registrants, such as manufacturers, distributors, dispensers (including physicians), importers, and exporters of controlled substances and listed chemicals.




The DEA was established within the Department of Justice by Executive Order on July 1, 1973, when the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence and the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement were merged, and the Attorney General was granted additional authority to coordinate federal efforts to combat illicit drug abuse.


Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1973, 3 C.F.R. 785 (1971 – 1975 Comp.) reprinted at 21 U.S.C. § 801.


The Drug Enforcement Administration's Role in Combating the Opioid Epidemic   Mar 20, 2018


October 2003 Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control Powerpoint

December 2003 OxyContin Abuse and Diversion and Efforts to Address the Problem  Report to Congressional Requesters United States General Accounting Office Pdf   HTML

To improve efforts to prevent or identify abuse and diversion of controlled substances such as OxyContin, FDA’s risk management plan guidance should encourage pharmaceutical manufacturers with new drug applications to submit plans that contain a strategy for identifying potential problems with abuse and diversion. FDA concurred with GAO’s recommendation. DEA agreed that such risk management plans are important, and Purdue stated that the report appeared to be fair and balanced.

Follow-Up Review of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Efforts to Control the Diversion of Controlled Pharmaceuticals July 2006

August 2011 United States Government Accountability Office GAO Report to Congressional Requesters 

DEA Has Enhanced Efforts to Combat Diversion, but Could Better Assess and Report Program Results

Given the significant and growing problem of the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical-controlled substances in the United States, having a set of performance measures that clearly conveys the accomplishments of the Diversion Control program is perhaps even more important now. By reassessing the program’s current performance measures and making changes where necessary to the measures, DEA will be in a better position to provide enhanced information to program managers, other decision makers such as Congress, and the public on the extent to which the program is achieving its stated longer range performance goal of reducing diversion.

John Martin, Assistant Administrator (DC) 202 307–7165

Matthew J. Strait, Executive Assistant (DCC) 202–307–7165

Jessica Thurman, Special Assistant (DCXA) 202–307–7165

Raymond K. Brown Deputy Assistant Administrator (DP) 202–307–7165

Neil D. Doherty, Deputy Assistant Administrator (DO) 202–307–7165

Susan A. Gibson, Deputy Assistant Administrator (DR) 202–307–7165

John P. Hegarty, Executive Assistant (DOX) 202–307–7165

Donetta M. Spears, Executive Assistant (DRX) 202–307–7165

Diane M. Parks, Section Chief, Diversion Planning & Resources Section (DCA) 202–307–7197

Shondra D. Cousins, Unit Chief, Diversion Financial Unit (DCAF) 202–307–7197

Theresa N. Olivera, Unit Chief, Diversion General Services Unit (DCAS) 202–307–7197

L. Ursula Bivens, Unit Chief, Diversion Value Analysis Unit (DCAV) 202–307–7197

Michael A. Webster, Section Chief, Pharmaceutical Investigations Section (DOP) 202–307–8680

Thomas W. Prevoznik, Associate Section Chief (DOP/A) 202–307–8680

Michael T. Bostick, Unit Chief, Coordination & Support Unit (DOPC) 202–307–8680

June E. Howard, Unit Chief, Targeting & Analysis Unit (DOPT) 202–305–7241

James McNamee, Section Chief, Synthetic Drugs & Chemicals Section (DOS) 202–307–4780

Antonio R. Guzman, Associate Section Chief (DOS/A) 202–307–4780

Terry L. Boos, Section Chief, Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section (DPE), 202–307–7183

Srihari R. Tella, Unit Chief, Drug & Chemical Control Unit (DPEC) 202–307–7183

Liqun L. Wong, Unit Chief, Data Analysis Unit (DPED) 202–307–7183

James A. Arnold, Section Chief, Liaison & Policy Section (DPL) 202–307–7297

Scott A. Brinks, Acting Liaison Unit Chief, (DPLL) 202–307–7297

Kathy L. Federico, Acting Section Chief, Regulatory Drafting & Policy Support Section (DPW) 202–598–8953

Loren T. Miller, Section Chief, (DPY) 202–307–7297

Lynnette M. Wingert, Policy Unit Chief, Regulatory Unit (DPYP) 202–307–7297

Charlotte D. Barron, Section Chief, Regulatory Section (DRG) 202–307–7194

Kurtis R. Roth, Unit Chief, Regulatory Unit (DRGR) 202–307–7194

Jorge L. Jimenez, Section Chief, Import/Export Section (DRI) 202–307–7194

Spencer R. Shelton, Unit Chief, Import/Export Unit (DRII) 202–307–7194

Stacy Harper-Avilla, Section Chief, UN Reporting & Quota Section (DRQ), 202–307–7184

Vacant, Unit Chief, UN Reporting & Quota Section (DRQ) 202–307–7184

Erika Gehrmann, Section Chief, Registration & Program Support Section (DRR) 202–307–4925

Carolyn B. Adams, Associate Section Chief (DRR/A) 202–307–4925

Vacant, Unit Chief, ARCOS Unit (DRRA) 202–307–8600

Richard C. Parks, Unit Chief, Operations Unit (DRRO) 202–307–4925

Andrew W. Breiner, Unit Chief, Customer Response Unit (DRRC) 202–307–4925

Anchor 4

Timeline Highlights


The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), enacted under Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970


The DEA was established within the Department of Justice by Executive Order on July 1, 1973

The 1996 Rule specified six types of investigations involving the diversion of controlled substances, which could be pursued by the DCP utilizing funding from the Diversion Control Fee Account (DCFA).

First full year of sales in 1996, the number of  OxyContin prescriptions has risen 18-fold, to approximately 5.8  million prescriptions in 2000. On the other hand, another controlled release formulation manufactured by Purdue Pharma,  containing Morphine, MS-Contin, saw an approximate 20-percent drop in prescriptions during that same period.


"During the last 2 years (1999) , DEA has noted a dramatic increase in the illicit availability and abuse of OxyContin. As early as  1999, DEA assisted the State of Maine in the investigation of  an organized ring of individuals who used forged, stolen, and altered prescriptions to divert thousands of dosage units of  OxyContin to abusers. While OxyContin diversion and abuse appear to have begun more in rural areas, such as Appalachia"

August  28, 2001 Oxycontin: Its Use and Abuse , Hearing before the Committee on Energy and Commerce  Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Took place in Bensalem PA)


Connecticut drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma hired Giuliani Partners in May 2002 as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration began investigating a wave of overdose deaths attributed to the firm's powerful and lucrative painkiller, OxyContin.

News Release March 22, 2002 DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson Discusses Prescription Monitoring Programs with the National Association of Attorneys General

The DEA in the News

Scott HighamSari HorwitzSteven Rich and Meryl Kornfield, Inside The Drug Industry's Plan To Defeat the DEA, Washington Post,  Sept. 13, 2019

John Temple, DEA Secretly OKs Killer Quantities of Oxy and Morphine Daily Beast, 07.12.17

Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein , Who is Joe Rannazzisi: The DEA man who fought the drug companies and lost, Washington Post,  October 15, 2017

Higham  S, Bernstein  L. The drug industry’s triumph over the DEA. The Washington Post. Published October 15, 2017. Accessed October 18, 2017.


Higham S. Drug industry quashed DEA efforts to block opioids. The Boston Globe . Published October 15, 2017. Accessed October 18, 2017.


Who is to blame for the Epidemic? Blame the DEA: The Federal Agency That Fuels the Opioid Crisis  The Drug Enforcement Administration has proved itself incompetent for decades.


Mulrooney  JJ II, Legel  KE. Current navigation points in drug diversion law: hidden rocks in shallow, murky, drug-infested waters. Marquette Law Review. Accessed October 18, 2017.

Analysis of the impact of the legal impact of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016. Pub L No. 114-145, 130 Stat 353.


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