Drug Czar | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

The Drug Czar, also known as the Director of National Drug Control Policy, is a position within the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to understand where this term comes from. The label ‘Drug Czar’ started to be used in the media in the 1980s. It’s not an official title, but it’s stuck around because it succinctly illustrates the role: just as a czar was an absolute ruler in historical Russia, the ‘Drug Czar’ has the significant job of overseeing national drug policy.

Responsibilities of the ‘Drug Czar’

Now, let’s delve into what the ‘Drug Czar’ does. This position is responsible for coordinating the efforts of various government agencies to control and reduce drug use and its consequences. This position oversees everything from prevention and treatment programs to law enforcement and international drug control cooperation. Both federal and state-level initiatives fall under their watch. Their job is to ensure that all these moving parts work together towards the shared goal of drug control.


The work of the Director of National Drug Control Policy has a profound impact on the country. After all, drug abuse is a major issue with social, economic, and health consequences. Consequently, the ‘Drug Czar’ can influence everything from crime rates to public health outcomes by shaping national drug policy. Not only does the ‘Drug Czar’ affect those struggling with drug abuse, but their work also touches the lives of their loved ones, communities, and society as a whole.

Controversies Surrounding the ‘Drug Czar’ Role

Like many high-stakes roles, this position has had its share of controversies. Some critics argue that the office has prioritized law enforcement approaches over public health ones. Others contend that it hasn’t done enough to combat the opioid crisis. Despite these challenges, the ‘Drug Czar’ continues to play a pivotal role in U.S. drug policy.


All in all, the Director of National Drug Control Policy is a key figure in U.S. drug policy. Whether it’s overseeing prevention programs or coordinating with law enforcement, this individual has a significant role in the nation’s response to drug use. Despite the informal title, the ‘Drug Czar’ carries out a vital function in the realm of criminal justice, health, and social policy.

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On Other Sites

  • Kreit, A. (2016). Drug TruceOhio St. LJ77, 1323.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 06/09/2023

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