Sixty-seven percent of Americans favor drug treatment rather than jail or prison for non-violent drug users, a Pew Research Center report concludes.
“The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs,” the Pew report says.
Just 26 percent of Americans think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
The Pew report issued in April says the public is now looking at treatment of drug users as a change in the long-running war on drugs.
The report says the public has positive views of doing away with mandatory jail times for non-violent drug crimes, with 63 percent in favor and 32 percent against.
U.S. drug policy is at a pivotal time of national debate on how to deal with drug abuse. A bipartisan effort in Congress would give federal judges discretion for sentencing low-level cases that now require lengthy mandatory sentences.
“The public appears ready for a truce in
the long-running war on drugs”
The Pew report says 81 percent of blacks want the government to focus on treatment of illegal drug users. The ethnic difference is 66 percent of whites and 61 percent of Hispanics favor treatment.
On the issue of marijuana, Pew reports about 76 percent of Americans say if marijuana is not legalized, the penalty for possession of small amounts should not be jail time, compared with 22 percent favoring jail time.
“The federal government’s annual survey on drug use in the United States finds that the use of illicit drugs has increased over the past decade, in part because of a rise in marijuana use,” the report says.
“The government treats marijuana as an illicit drug; marijuana is now legal for medicinal use in 18 states and the District of Columbia and for recreational use in two others (Colorado and Washington).”
The Pew survey was conducted in February among 1,821 adults.