A Major Shift In Views Toward The War On Drugs

Illustration for article titled A Major Shift In Views Toward The War On Drugs

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, while 26% believe that the government's priority should be prosecuting users of hard drugs.

Public support for a treatment-based approach now spans nearly all demographic groups, the survey reports. And although Republicans are less supportive of the policy than Democrats and Independents, 51% of them favor it.

Among the survey's other findings:

• Alcohol is widely viewed as more harmful than marijuana, in terms of people's health (69%) and its impact on American society (63%)

Advertisement

• 54% support the legalization of marijuana, up from 32% a decade ago

• 63% oppose mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crimes, up from 47% in 2001

Advertisement

As Pew notes, these findings come at a pivotal moment in the national debate over how best to deal with drug abuse:

There is a new bipartisan effort in Congress to give federal judges more discretion in low-level drug cases and reduce mandatory sentences for some drug crimes. Separately, the United States Sentencing Commission is expected to vote soon on a proposal to lessen the federal sentence for drug dealers.

More and more states are acting to revise drug laws: Between 2009 and 2013, 40 states took some action to ease their drug laws according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data provided by the National Conference on State Legislatures and the Vera Institute.

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

toothpetard
toothpetard

Throw Nancy Reagan on TV again and watch how those numbers change.