Pew Research Study: Government should treat, not prosecute hard drug users

About two-thirds of Americans feel jail time is no longer the best way to handle criminals involved in illegal drug offenses, but that treating them is ideal when considering punishment. 

A study the Pew Research Center released Wednesday indicated that 26 percent of Americans surveyed (1,821) believe users of heroin and cocaine should be prosecuted by law. The majority, 76 percent feel the government should provide treatment to users.

According to the research, "The United States Sentencing Commission is expected to vote soon on a proposal to lessen the federal sentence for drug dealers."

If a trend continues, drug laws could soften up. Research showed 40 states, from 2009 - 3013, eased up on their drug laws, but most of the survey's participants said the state of drug use in the US is either a crisis (32 percent), or serious level (55 percent). Twelve percent said drug use was a problem in their own neighborhood, including the area's schools.

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