DEA publications

  Three different paperback booklets.
Accession Number:

These booklets, guides, and manuals spotlight DEA’s persistent efforts to inform and educate the American public and professionals around the world. Produced in the 1970s, the publications are just a few examples of information that DEA has freely provided since its founding to help people understand and prevent illicit drug use.

DEA has a long history of creating educational materials for everyone from school children to pharmacists and even ship captains abroad. The 1976 Ships Officers Guide to Help Stop Drug Smuggling is printed in both English and Chinese. It was distributed to senior ship officers so they could spot and report smuggled drugs aboard their vessels, especially opium. It’s filled with detailed descriptions of commonly smuggled drugs, the ports smugglers most often used, precautions officers could take at ports, and who to notify if drugs were discovered. Images of opium, trafficking labels, and photographs of smuggling locations historically discovered onboard ships fill its pages.

Other DEA publications educate the general public. This copy of Drugs of Abuse was published in the early 1970s, and updated versions are still available today. Drugs of Abuse is a resource guide that outlines different types of illicit drugs, their effects on the human body, and how people can identify them. It also explains the Controlled Substances Act, how drugs are scheduled, and what each scheduling level means. The act, passed in 1970, places substances on one of five schedules based on their accepted medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability.

DEA produces resources for those registered under the act too. This Pharmacist’s Drug Abuse Manual helped pharmacists identify and prevent drug misuse by their customers. Its articles explain how pharmacists can discuss drug misuse with different community groups and guard against forged prescriptions. It even has a handy list of questions people commonly ask about drugs.

For decades, DEA’s publications have connected communities with current and relevant information on drug use, trafficking, and law enforcement. Today, you can find free online resources on or the agency’s outreach websites, like Just Think Twice and Campus Drug Prevention.

Click here to view this artifact’s episode of “Stories from the Collection,” a monthly video series on the DEA Museum’s most exciting objects.