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Fewer Americans Are Worried About the National Drug Problem

New Gallup poll finds drug-related concerns are on the decline.

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Despite the fact that the United States is currently experiencing one of the most brutal heroin epidemics the country has ever witnessed, a new Gallup poll suggests more Americans believe the nation’s drug problem is far less serious than they did almost a decade ago.

The latest national survey shows 65 percent of the American population believes drug-related issues in the U.S. are “extremely” or “very serious.” These findings represent the lowest recorded public concern Gallup has uncovered on the issue since it began polling the question some 16 years ago.

In 2000, 83 percent of the respondents said drug problems were “extremely or “very serious” across the nation.

This diminishing concern over the national drug issue likely has something to do with the public relaxing in terms of marijuana legalization, said Gallup’s Jeffery M. Jones.

“Much of the news about drug policy has focused on state-level efforts to decriminalize marijuana, “ he wrote. Those efforts are consistent with shifts in public opinion, as Americans' support for legalizing marijuana has nearly doubled” since the turn of the new millennium.

A Gallup poll published in October found a record number of the American population now supports the legalization of marijuana. The survey shows a whopping 60 percent of the U.S. is now in favor of bringing an end to prohibition and establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis industry similar to how the country handles alcohol. That survey shows the strongest support on the issue since Gallup began asking the question nearly 50 years ago.

Incidentally, Gallup credits the younger generation for the diminishing concerns over the American drug problem.

“Younger adults, who have never known a time when drugs were among the most prominent issues on the national landscape, show far less concern about drugs than older adults do. They have also come of age at a time when Americans, particularly those in their age cohort, support legalizing marijuana. Given the differences by age in concern about the drug problem, the trend toward lesser concern about drugs could continue in the decades to come,” the report concludes. 

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