When you take a first look at the image, it looks like something torn from the bedroom wall of a teenager from a different decade, when Nuclear Assault and Megadeth used post-apocalyptic illustrations on their recordings. Who else would have the guts to brand themselves with images of dope, death and destruction?
According to High Times, early DEA uniforms were decorated with nothing short of morbid art. This was allegedly done in an attempt to boost morale of the agents. The most twisted image, however, comes from the Dangerous Drugs Intelligence Unit, the guys who capture drug rings operated by cartels. Their design shows a skeleton wearing a tuxedo, sunglasses and a top hat holding a syringe into the air.
These patches aren’t in use anymore, but thousands of them have been created throughout the years. According to the DEA, the death on the patches symbolizes the fact that drugs are dangerous and that they are often associated with violence. The DEA used these images back in the 70’s because agents needed a way to tell the drug dealers apart from their work friends. This is because in the 70’s everyone looked like a drug dealer, according to former agent Raymond Sherrard.
These badges must have come around as a means of ensuring that agents didn’t shoot the wrong guy, but in the end they turned into arrogant symbols of one of the biggest atrocities in US history – the drug war.