Majority Believe US is 'Losing Ground on Illegal Drug Problem,' Survey Finds

A recent survey shows that more Americans believe we are losing the fight against the illegal drug problem in United States than at any time in history.
Majority Believe US is 'Losing Ground on Illegal Drug Problem,' Survey Finds
A homeless man holds a blowtorch he used to heat fentanyl in Garden Grove, Calif., on April 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Patricia Tolson

The results of a recent poll reveal that the majority of Americans have less faith when it comes to dealing with the drug problem in the United States than at any time in history.

According to a recent Gallup survey conducted Oct. 2–23 and released Nov. 10, 52 percent of America's adults said they believe the United States is "losing ground" in its effort to deal with the mounting problem of illegal drugs. Only 24 percent—a record low—believe the United States has made progress in handling the issue, while 23 percent say the effort is at a stand-still. According to Gallup, these are the worst numbers seen since the outlet began tracking the issue.

Among political demographics, 40 percent of Democrats believe America is making headway against drugs and 27 percent believe the situation is getting worse. Among independents, 52 percent think America is sliding backward in the fight against the illegal drug issue and 22 percent feel like things are getting better.

Republicans take the harder stance, with 75 percent saying America is losing ground in the fight against illegal drugs and only 12 percent believing we're making progress.

These opinions, the survey reveals, are based on the fact that overdoses from illegal drugs are on the rise. Although much of that increase stems from synthetic opioids like fentanyl, overdoses linked to other types of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines have also risen.

Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 18 showed that, while provisional numbers indicated that drug overdoses decreased by two percent last year from the year before—falling from 107,573 overdose deaths in 2022 from 105,452 overdose deaths in 2021—revisions in the data due to delayed reporting showed that the number of deaths from drug overdose increased by 0.5 percent, going from 109,179 on 2021 to 109,680 in 2022.
Based on data available for analysis on Nov. 5, the CDC reported that there were 106,842 overdose deaths in the 12 months ending June 2023, compared to 107,439 overdose deaths for the 12 months ending June 2022, a 2.6 percent increase.

Statistics by state show that the state of Washington had the biggest increase in reported drug overdose deaths during the same period, rising from 2,389 overdose deaths for the 12 months ending June 2022 to 3,269 overdose deaths in the 12 months ending June 2023, an increase of 36.84 percent.

North Carolina had the greatest improvement, falling from 4,058 in the 12 months ending in June 2022 to 3,131 in the 12 months pending June 2023, a decrease of 22.84 percent.

The CDC reports that xylazine is increasingly being found in America's illegal drug supply.
On July 11, 2023, the White House released a National Response Plan to address the "emerging threat of fentanyl combined with xylazine," saying it "has been detected in nearly every state in the country."
According to the latest data published on Nov. 15 by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Forensic Laboratory Division, for the City and County of San Francisco, 692 people died from drug overdose in San Francisco between January and October. A total of 65 people died from drug overdoses in October alone.

Of those, 572 overdose deaths involved fentanyl, and 26 of those deaths involved the use of xylazine.

Xylazine, commonly known as “tranq,” is a tranquilizer used by veterinarians to sedate or relieve pain in animals like horses, cats, and dogs. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use in humans. On the streets, xylazine is mixed with other drugs like fentanyl, heroin, or cocaine to enhance the "high." Because its use in humans can cause necrotic skin ulcers to appear on the skin, it is commonly known on the streets as the “zombie drug.”

Patricia Tolson, an award-winning national investigative reporter with 20 years of experience, has worked for such news outlets as Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. With The Epoch Times, Patricia’s in-depth investigative coverage of human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights has achieved international exposure. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]