More than half (52%) of Americans believe the United States is “losing ground” when it comes to illegal drugs, according to a Gallup report released on November 11.

For the first time since the survey began polling on this subject in 1972, the majority of Americans have had a negative view of the country’s handling of illegal substances. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) say America has a “very serious” drug problem. Up from 64% in 2021, the report cites a sharp increase in drug overdoses resulting in death.

On the other hand, 24% of respondents say progress has been made, while 23% say there’s been no change. Optimism was highest in 1999 when 47% believed the nation was addressing the issue.

Most Americans don’t view illegal drugs as a problem in their local area but rather see it as a national issue. Only 35% of those surveyed say it is an “extremely/ very serious” problem in their local area. 

Along party lines, Republicans (86%), Independents (74%), and Democrats (63%) agree that illegal drugs are a serious issue. Two times more Republicans (62%) than Democrats (31%) view illegal drugs as “extremely serious.”

“Amid news of an alarming spike in the number of U.S. adults succumbing to overdoses of opioids and other dangerous drugs, Americans generally see little progress in addressing the illegal drug problem in the nation,” Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup’s senior editor, writes. “The public has never been more pessimistic than they are today, at least in the years Gallup has collected data on the matter.”

For the full report, click here.


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