Today, ahead of the 50th anniversary of when President Richard Nixon declared the “war on drugs,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)  released a Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI) poll showing strong support for eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and replacing it with a new approach centered in public health. 

June 17th marks 50 years since President Nixon famously declared drugs “public enemy number one.” This proclamation waged a full out offensive that has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into law enforcement, leading to the over-surveillance and incarceration of millions of people, disproportionately Black, Latinx and Indigenous people. 

The new poll shows the vast majority of American voters believe the policy has been a failure that has only increased drug-related harms and contributed to overcrowding the nation’s jails and prisons.