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Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988

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Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act of 1988
  • Anti-Drug Abuse Amendments Act of 1988
  • Asset Forfeiture Amendments Act of 1988
  • Bureau of Land Management Drug Enforcement Supplemental Authority Acct
  • Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act of 1988
  • Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988
  • Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Amendments Act of 1988
  • Drug-Free Public Housing Act of 1988
  • Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988
  • Drunk Driving Prevention Act of 1988
  • Federal Aviation Administration Drug Enforcement Assistance Act of 1988
  • Insular Areas Drug Abuse Amendments of 1988
  • International Narcotics Control Act of 1988
  • Justice Department Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Enhancement Act of 1988
  • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Amendments of 1988
  • Minor and Technical Criminal Law Amendments Act of 1988
  • Money Laundering Prosecution Improvements Act of 1988
  • National Commission on Measured Responses to Achieve a Drug-Free America by 1995 Authorization Act
  • National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988
  • Native Hawaiian Health Care Act of 1988
  • Public Housing Drug Elimination Act of 1988
  • Truck and Bus Safety and Regulatory Reform Act of 1988
  • Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988
  • Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1989
Long titleAn Act to prevent the manufacturing, distribution, and use of illegal drugs, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)ADAA, ADTSA
NicknamesAlcohol and Drug Traffic Safety Act of 1988
Enacted bythe 100th United States Congress
EffectiveNovember 18, 1988
Public law100-690
Statutes at Large102 Stat. 4181
Acts amendedAnti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986
Administrative Procedure Act
Freedom of Information Act
Titles amended5 U.S.C.: Government Organization and Employees
21 U.S.C.: Food and Drugs
U.S.C. sections created21 U.S.C. ch. 20, subch. I § 1501 et seq.
U.S.C. sections amended
Legislative history

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 100–690, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988, H.R. 5210) is a major law of the War on Drugs passed by the U.S. Congress which did several significant things:

  1. Created the policy goal of a drug-free America;
  2. Established the Office of National Drug Control Policy;[2] and
  3. Restored the use of the death penalty by the federal government.

The change from the Act of 1986 to the Act of 1988 concerns the mandatory minimum penalties to drug trafficking conspiracies and attempts that previously were applicable only to substantive completed drug trafficking offenses. The Act amended 21 U.S.C. 844 to make crack cocaine the only drug with a mandatory minimum penalty for a first offense of simple possession. The Act made possession of more than five grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base punishable by at least five years in prison. The five year minimum penalty also applies to possession of more than three grams of cocaine base if the defendant has a prior conviction for crack cocaine possession, and to possession of more than one gram of crack if the defendant has two or more prior crack possession convictions.[3]

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 also offers several other amendments to the Act of 1986. First, the organization and coordination of Federal drug control efforts. Next, the reduction of drug demand through increased treatment and prevention efforts. Also, the reduction of illicit drug trafficking and production abroad. Lastly, sanctions designed to place added pressure on the drug user. The ADAA projected budget for the total federal drug control budget (if fully funded) was $6.5 billion for the 1989 fiscal year”.[4] The result of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 was not foreseen. “After spending billions of dollars on law enforcement, doubling the number of arrests and incarcerations, and building prisons at a record pace, the system has failed to decrease the level of drug-related crime. Placing people in jail at increasing rates has had little long-term effect on the levels of crime”.[5]

The Act also re-established the federal death penalty.[6][7]

The H.R. 5210 legislation was passed by the 100th U.S. Congressional session, and signed into law by president Ronald Reagan on November 18, 1988.[8]

The media campaign mentioned in the act later became the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hall, D: Administrative Law Bureaucracy in a Democracy 4th Ed., page 2. Pearson, 2009.
  2. ^ "Authorizing Legislation". Authorizations Language. U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  3. ^ "1995 Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy". United States Sentencing Commission. October 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (H.R. 5210, 100th Congress): Highlights of Enacted Bill" (PDF). www.ojp.gov. Department of Justice.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2015-04-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "The Anti-Drug Abuse Act Of 1988". Department of Justice. 19 February 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Kelley Czajka (July 25, 2019). "How Does the Federal Death Penalty Work?". Pacific Standard.
  8. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Ronald Reagan: "Remarks on Signing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988", November 18, 1988". The American Presidency Project. University of California, Santa Barbara.

External links[edit]