The DEA should be abolished. Additionally, the 'war on drugs' is a complete failure, and everyone knows it. We need to switch from a punitive legal 'solution' to our very real drug problems, and adopt models that are proven to reduce drug use and abuse. It's time to get racist meatheads out of their positions of absolute control over peoples lives and restore dignity to the American public. You do this by adopting policies such as Portugal, not by making half (literally half) of Americans criminals. It's insane, and if you support it, you are insane as well. Not to come off as too cliche, but if we are to use the definition of insanity proposed by Einstein, that is to say doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then our current policies are clearly insane. Harsher prison sentences, more guns, more violence, more failed laws and cops is not going to solve this problem. Treatment, education, rehabilitation, and decriminalization is what is going to effectively reduce drug abuse, addiction, and smash drug flow in our society. Wake up, grow up.
Drug policy in America makes no sense and has nothing to do with science. Marijuana is illegal but datura is perfectly legal. The DEA ignores problems with prescription drugs that are far worse than many of the things they have scheduled as illegal. They ignore data that MDMA is an effective therapeutic tool and make it illegal because the few deaths get sensationalized even when activities that kill more people per "use" like horseback-riding are perfectly legal and nobody asks for a ban on that. It's a travesty.
This is just one piece of the puzzle that says quite frankly democracy is wrong. Democracy leads to policies based on special interests. It promotes people into power because they talk smooth and look nice regardless of their actual merits. And worse it trickles into society. People express the importance of appearance and social networking (code for "gaining other people's personal favor to advance yourself") as if it were a good thing instead of an unfortunate reality. We should have a government run by scientists, and the economy too when ever private industry ceases to run according to a rational basis (but not all the time, the opposite extreme of communism is just as bad and just as idealistic as capitalism).
The question presented here is a false dichotomy. Law enforcement officers and political appointees are not scientists, but they do not necessarily know -nothing- about science. To approach the issue properly, one must realize that the DEA is an law enforcement agency, not a research organization. Its members are law enforcement experts because its purpose is to enforce laws. To argue that scientists would somehow do a better job enforcing the law than trained police officers is as naive as arguing that police officers would do a better job advancing science than trained scientists. By all means, the policy makers in the United States should be accurately informed by scientists when making their decisions, but scientists are just as fallible as the next human being, and rather than playing with politics, they should stick to advancing science. It is dangerous to put scientists on a pedestal above the rest of us. Science is merely one branch of human understanding. It is not, and never will it be, the answer to all our problems.