Lifestyle

The Official Patches of The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Are...Dope?

Post-ironic streetwear, meet drug cops. Drug cops, meet post-ironic streetwear.
IMAGE U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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“Cool” is probably last word you’d expect to use when referring to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. After all, these guys are tasked with busting druggies—they’re the antagonists of stoner flicks and hip-hop anthems. It’s easier to imagine them as straight arrows wearing pleated wide-leg pants and square-toed shoes, standing by the dot-matrix printer at the office and ranting to the intern about how music was different back in his day, and how there’s no accountability anymore. Pedro Pascal as Javier Peña in Narcos seemed enough of a stretch.

And yet, my gahd, the D.E.A.’s official embroidered uniform patches are pretty damn cool. Someone in the agency clearly has good taste in graphic design, and perhaps an ironic sense of humor too, because the patches seem to celebrate drugs more than denounce them.

Consider the patch of the agency’s Ecstasy and Predatory Drugs division. It shows the goddamn Grim Reaper getting turnt at Coachella with glow sticks and a pacifier, and now I sort of want a hit of ecstasy, too (just kidding, don't sic the PDEA on me). The patch is even emblazoned with the phrase “Dancing With Darkness,” which could have easily been the title of Drake’s upcoming album. Stitch this onto an Type-2 denim jacket and suddenly you’re the coolest guy in the cartel.

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But the Ecstasy squad’s patch is just one of hundreds, each dedicated to a different division or task force of the D.E.A. They’re not unlike the more famous NASA patches that adorn a lot of MA-1 bomber jackets these days. There are patches for the Cocaine Intelligence Unit, the Heroin Intelligence Unit, and the Cannabis Eradication Program. Many were gathered by Curtis Waltman of the nonprofit investigative news site Muckrock. Waltman requested them from D.E.A. under the States’ Freedom of Information Act.

Here are just some of the best ones:

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But while the D.E.A.'s patches look great, their catchphrases pale in comparison to the one on a U.S. Air Force's patch:

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The phrase "Death Wears Bunny Slippers," in this case, has been said to refer to the notion that nuclear warfare will be fought by generals and world leaders from the comfort of underground bunkers, where they'd be dressed in cozy pajamas and bunny slippers as they push the big red button. The patch visualizes this notion perfectly.

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