Poll Shows Low Confidence in Drug War

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 30, 2001.

  1. By Michael A. de Yoanna, Staff Writer
    Source: Colorado Daily

    A poll released on Wednesday shows that Colorado voters have little confidence in the War on Drugs and more people view drug addiction as a health issue than a crime.
    Ridder-Braden Inc. conducted the poll for the Boulder-based Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. It asked 500 Colorado voters in 63 counties how they felt the state and federal governments were doing when it comes the War on Drugs.

    "This is the first, and most comprehensive, poll taken on the Drug War in the state," Christie Donner of the Peace Center said.

    According to the poll:

    * 83 percent of respondents said the country is losing its war on drugs;

    * 85 percent said the War on Drugs deals with the symptoms of drug use, but fails to solve the underlying causes;

    * 59 percent said efforts to stop drug use have been ineffective; and

    * Just 2 percent said the government is winning the War on Drugs.

    Additionally, the poll indicates that while Colorado voters are wary of drug suppliers, they support treatment over criminal sentences for drug users. Eighty-six percent of those polled said that providing people with treatment would be an effective method for cutting down drug use and 80 percent said they thought such treatment would help reduce the crime related to drug use.

    "This all says that the key to winning the War on Drugs is reducing demand for drugs," Donner said.

    According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, 3,226 - more than 20 percent - of the prison system's estimated 16,000 inmates are serving sentences for a drug conviction.

    And inmates serving sentences for drug possession or use constitute a little more than half that number at 1,714, or 10.7 percent, according to Corrections Department statistics released June 30.

    Colorado ranks 49th in the United States in terms of per-capita spending on drug treatment, Donner said.

    "Colorado is woefully under-funded when it comes to treatment," she said.

    The state spends $23 million on efforts to combat drug usage, including alcohol use, and just $2 million of it comes directly from the state.

    "The rest comes in federal grants," Donner said. "What the poll indicates is that people don't think the spending is balanced."

    She added that other Western states, such as New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho and California have extensive drug prevention and treatment programs.

    Donner Wednesday delivered the results of the poll to state lawmakers on the Legislature's Interim Criminal Justice Committee on Sentencing Reform that is charged with reviewing the state's drug laws and corrections policies.

    "No specifics have come out of that committee yet," Donner said. "They are looking at alternatives to incarceration."

    The committee is currently considering a proposal by Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, to ease criminal sentences on drug possession and to use the estimated $26,000 a year per person incarcerated in the state to fund effective treatments.

    According to the poll, 73 percent of the state's voters voiced support for the concept.

    Note: Coloradans: 85 percent say current War on Drugs deals with symptoms but not causes of drug use.

    Source: Colorado Daily (CO)
    Author: Michael A. de Yoanna, Colorado Daily Staff Writer
    Published: September 28, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Colorado Daily
    Contact: editor@coloradodaily.com
    Website: http://www.coloradodaily.com/

    Related Articles & Web Site:

    Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center

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