News / USA

Pew: US Wants Treatment, Not Jailing, of Drug Users

Seahawks fan smokes marijuana in car before watching Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle, Washington, Feb. 2, 2014.
Seahawks fan smokes marijuana in car before watching Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle, Washington, Feb. 2, 2014.
Reuters
About two-thirds of Americans say drug abusers need access to treatment to address their addiction rather than criminal prosecution that could lead to jail time, according to a poll released on Wednesday that highlights the public's shifting attitude toward illegal drugs in the United States.

While people are still worried about the extent of drug abuse, especially in their schools and neighborhoods, those surveyed supported less harsh punishment for non-violent offenders, especially marijuana users, the Pew Research Center found.

Among the 1,821 U.S. adults polled, 67 percent said they backed treatment for drug users compared to 26 percent who said the government should focus on prosecution. Another 7 percent said they did not know what to focus on.

Two thirds also said they supported the growing movement among some U.S. states to back away from mandatory sentences for minor drug crimes, according to the nonpartisan group's survey. In comparison, less than half of those polled in 2001 backed reduced prison time.

"The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs," Pew researchers wrote.

The poll, conducted from Feb. 14 through Feb. 23, comes as policy makers and top U.S. law enforcement officials reexamine the nation's drug policy to allow judges greater discretion in sentencing offenders, although some prosecutors have balked at the effort.

The Obama administration has endorsed reducing prison sentences in federal drug cases, an idea some Republicans also endorse. Lawmakers in Congress in both political parties are also revisiting the issue.

Americans' relaxing attitude toward marijuana use was particularly clear: 44 percent of those polled said the medical use of the drug should be legal and 39 percent backed its legalization for personal use. Sixteen percent said it should be illegal.

And an overwhelming majority, including supporters and opponents, said the drug will likely be legalized eventually.

A separate Pew poll four years ago found, overall, 52 percent of Americans thought marijuana should be illegal while 41 percent said it should be legal.

"Today, those numbers are roughly reversed," researchers said on Wednesday.

Already, 20 states and Washington, D.C. have laws allowing medical use of marijuana while Washington state and Colorado allow wider recreational use.

Despite the softening stance toward U.S. drug policy, many Americans surveyed now said they still harbor concerns about drug abuse and legalized marijuana.

More than half said drug abuse is "a serious problem" while 32 percent called it "a crisis," Pew researchers found. The rest said it was not a problem or did not know.

That is roughly in line with Pew's earlier surveys over the last two decades, the group said.

Those polled this year expressed particular concern about the impact of legalizing marijuana on youth, saying it could lead more children and teenagers to try it.

They also had other worries: 63 percent said if marijuana was legal they would be bothered by people using it in public. Forty-one percent also said they would not want marijuana sellers in their neighborhood.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
April 03, 2014 8:41 AM
The drug program is ineffective. only 5% who admitted to these programs is healed. the drug addiction is so powerful and scientists have not produced any strategy that healed people totally. the only way is get them from the street and keep them out of drugs until their bodies is adjusted. the prevention is more effective than treatment. usually drug addict is running in the family and identify drug addict and help his children for not using drugs.is needed. drug addicts woman has to advice of not producing baby. my neighbors are drugs addict and produce a lot of babies . their babies' suffer from autistic ,,Attention deficit disorder. most the teachers , administration , police officers ,lawyer , priest, imam are using drugs. drug users are so many. we need fact because the problem is out of control

by: ali baba from: new york
April 03, 2014 5:48 AM
the experience about drug treatment is proved ineffective. the figrue shows that one stopped using drugs from twenty means that 5% only healed. . drug addict on drug program escaped from the program to get drug. . people in jail get drugs. at present time jail term is the most strategy available. from my point of view, get all drug addict and keep them in military base. they have to cook for themselves. they to clean the base and totally isolated from the visitors whom smuggles drugs . or send them to Alaska where they have cut tree for warming and hunt for seals to feed themselves . once they can not get drug for a period of drugs , they might get clean . but a program for twenty days and he return back to his body to continue his habit is not yield any result

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs