In a June 17, 1971 speech,  President Richard Nixon introduced a $350 million effort that launched what became known as the war on drugs:

He said: “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”

During this anniversary week, the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf offered a brief critique of the war on drugs despite the DEA’s ballooning budget.

This isn’t the DEA’s fault. The illicit trade in narcotics is a black market that cannot be eliminated in a free society. But why do legislators continue to increase its size?

He includes quite a chart that shows how the department’s budget was a paltry $65,200,000 in 1972… compared to $2,602,000,000 in 2009.