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Passing Judgement: The U.S. Drug Certification Process

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
Originally passed as part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, drug certification legislation requires the Federal Government to annually identify countries that are significant direct or indirect sources of illegal drugs that affect the United States.
If countries are deemed to have fully cooperated with the United States, they are certified. If not, they are denied certification and U.S. foreign aid is suspended. As of 1998, 30 countries were not certified. The certification legislation identifies several criteria for determining whether a country has fully cooperated with the United States, including government actions to reduce illicit drug production and trafficking; to eliminate drug-related money laundering, bribery, and public corruption; to process drug-related extradition requests from the United States; and to cooperate with U.S. law enforcement agencies. The recent history of the certification process is reviewed, and consequences of decertification are examined. The amount of leverage the United States can exert on countries and ways of assessing the impact of certification are discussed. 16 references and 8 charts