Polling News

U.S. Losing Ground on Illegal Drugs

November 16, 2023

Americans are more skeptical about how the U.S. is handling illegal drugs than at any point since Gallup started tracking the measure in 1972.  

Why It Matters: As the crisis at the Southern border continues, the issue has expanded beyond illegal immigration and national security. The growing amount of illegal drugs crossing the border has made every state a border state. This has led to a spike in overdoses caused from drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamines. 

By The Numbers:

  • Fifty-two percent say the U.S. has lost ground in handling the illegal drug problem. Only 24% said the U.S. has made progress. When Gallup first asked this question in 1972, those numbers were 41%/35%, respectively. 
  • While only 40% of Democrats say the U.S. has made progress, just 22% of Independents and 12% of Republicans say the same. 
  • Seventy-five percent of Republicans say the U.S. has lost ground on this issue, compared to 52% of Independents and 27% of Democrats. 


The Bottom Line: Drug deaths nationwide hit a new record in 2022, with 109,680 Americans dying. The influx of dangerous drugs into communities across the country is happening at the same time as a record of illegal border crossings. While not all illegal crossings are connected to drugs, fentanyl seizures are at a record high, a sign that the two are connected. This issue will remain a top three issue that cuts across party lines and will play out in the presidential primaries and down ballot races, as every state is now a border state.   

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