Careers in Criminal Justice: Fighting Drug Abuse

If you are searching for high-speed careers in criminal justice, you may want to consider turning to the fight against drug abuse. This career field is rich with job opportunities, as the criminals purporting these crimes are not going away anytime soon. Careers are available at the local, state, and federal levels, including jobs in law enforcement, investigation, therapy, and rehabilitation.

The fight against drug abuse includes legal drugs, such as prescription drugs or alcohol, and illegal substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. If you want to work in stopping the distribution, possession, and creation of legal and illegal drugs, you will need a career in law enforcement, which begins with a criminal justice degree.


Criminal justice degrees come in many different forms. Vocational schools offer certificate programs to get you started on the job quicker. Community colleges and universities offer associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in the field of criminal justice. If you want to work in a local or state program, a certificate or associate degree in criminal justice may be sufficient. However, if you are looking to work at the federal, or national, level, you will need at least a baccalaureate degree in the field.


Today's society is focused on the rehabilitative potential of corrections in criminal justice. No longer are individuals incarcerated for years for alcohol or drug abuse; today, they may be placed under house arrest and ordered into an intensive counseling and drug rehab program.

Many of the careers in criminal justice and drug abuse start in counseling. Social workers, therapists, parole and probation officers, and correctional specialists play a role in the rehabilitation of drug abusers, both legal and illegal. Most counseling jobs within criminal justice require at least a bachelor's degree and a state licensure. Licensed social workers require a master's degree in the field along with observed hours of counseling.

The Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional (CCJP) is an individual who has passed rigorous state licensure and certification requirements, such as three or more years of supervised work along with specialized educational requirements in criminal justice specialties.

Law Enforcement

Careers stopping drug abuse at the local or state level provide a way to directly affect the safety and well-being of your community. You can make a difference in the fight against drugs working in the local police department's narcotics division. Entry into the police force may require an associate degree in criminal justice and completion of the state-mandated police academy. Although you will start your career in patrol, you can request a transfer after a year or more of experience.

National Law Enforcement

Although there are multiple three-lettered governmental agencies working in the fight against drugs in America, three are singularly focused on drugs and alcohol. Careers at the federal level are highly competitive and usually require experience working at the local or state level prior to eligibility.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to keep the nation safe by monitoring the use and distribution of pharmacological substances, both prescription and over the counter. The FDA works closely with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as their areas of responsibility sometimes merge in the efforts to ensure public health and safety.

The DEA is the only governmental agency with a sole mission of fighting drug abuse. The DEA has a fiscal budget of $2.02 billion to use against drug-related crimes. Careers at this federal level are competitive and will require at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Although they make up the majority of DEA staff, special agents are not the only law enforcement careers available in this governmental organization. Other high-profile positions at the DEA may include investigators, intelligence research, and even chemists.

The ATF works to stop illegal trafficking and use of alcohol and tobacco. Although they are legal drugs, there is still a national need to prevent the misuse, possession, and distribution of these drugs to minors. | © Copyright 2019 | All Rights Reserved