The admission of a criminal defendant’s prior bad acts can be a powerful tool for attaining a conviction. The federal courts are currently divided as to whether the defendant’s prior drug use is admissible under Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence when the defendant is charged with distributing a controlled dangerous substance.

Part I of this Comment will briefly explore the historical roots of Rule 404(b). Part II will examine the permissible purposes for admitting prior bad acts under Rule 404(b). Part III will discuss the circuit split that has developed as to whether the defendant’s prior drug use can be admissible under one of the exceptions to Rule 404(b) in a prosecution for possession with intent to distribute. Part IV examines a new standard for analyzing prior drug offenses under Rule 404(b) and argues that courts should move away from a mechanical framework of applying Rule 404(b). Part V will briefly summarize this Comment.