Canadian and U.S. government officials announced March 16 a new agreement that allows federal agencies to conduct immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in each other's countries while facilitating travel.
United States customs officers didn't always effectively use certain critera to assess the risk of some rail shipments entering from Canada and Mexico nor did some use required radiation detection equipment to examine high-risk cargo – problems that have since been addressed.
The Coast Guard, which has numerous responsibilities ranging from search and rescue to drug interdiction, would see a modest 1.6 percent increase – or about $153 million – under the president's recently unveiled 2016 budget proposal.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which enforces immigration laws and conducts counterterrorism and other border security investigations, was one of the biggest budget winners among agencies within the Homeland Security Department. The agency is requesting $6.28 billion for next fiscal year, or nearly $923 million above this year's estimated spending level.
More than a fifth of U.S. law enforcement agencies say controlled prescription drug abuse is the greatest drug threat, a significant increase since 2009, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency's recently issued threat assessment.
While the United States has conditionally tolerated the regulated use of marijuana in two states – Washington and Colorado – national drug policy is at odds with the international drug control regime, said panelists at an Oct. 17 discussion at the Brookings Institution.
Despite the political gridlock on Capitol Hill on a range of highly charged issues, there's a surprising amount of consensus in drug policy reform, said a health and drug policy analyst.
Citing the readiness of aging vessels, delays in getting new vessels and sequestration, the Coast Guard has generally missed its established targets for removing illicit drugs – mainly cocaine – in a 6-million-square-mile area known as the "transit zone" that it patrols, a Government Accountability Office report said.
A high-ranking U.S. Coast Guard officer told a House transportation subcommittee June 18 that the service doesn't have enough funding to modernize its fleet and support systems, making it challenging to fulfill its complex and broad mission.
The global drug market for new psychoactive substances is increasing at an "unprecedented pace," finds a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "The variety of substances available on illicit drug markets is higher than ever," says the report.