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Survey: Majority of SC Primary Voters Favor Drug Law Reforms


A recent survey conducted among likely South Carolina primary voters found that the majority favored reforming drug laws to emphasize treatment rather than incarceration, with an overwhelming majority (65%) responding that drug charges should primarily be treated as a “health problem” rather than a “criminal justice problem.”

Some 56% also agreed that possession of drugs for personal use should be decriminalized.

The survey was conducted among 1,297 “likely primary voters,” 56% of which planned to vote in the Republican primary and 44% of which in the Democratic primary. 53% of survey participants were female vs. 47% male; 66% were white, while 28% were African-American and 6% self-identified as “other.”

The Drug Policy Alliance ran the poll between February 12 and 14. Survey results suggest that although many of the candidates of both parties have at least softened the rhetoric surrounding drug use to emphasize treatment, voters across party lines are more likely to favor outright decriminalization for drug possession charges.

SC voters want reforms related to drug charges

When asked if they “[a]gree that we should treat drug use as a health issue and stop arresting and locking up people for possession of a small amount of any drug for personal use,” more than half of respondents answered yes. 53% of respondents said that addressing prescription pain medication and other drug overdose problems was “very important.” 28% of respondents answered yes to the question, “Have you or anyone you know been personally affected by prescription drug abuse, heroin abuse or overdose?”

After pointing out that over 2 million people in the US are now in jail, one question asked about the importance of reducing those numbers. 43% said that reducing the number of incarcerated was “very important,” while 27% saw it as “somewhat important.” When asked whether they would be more or less likely to support a political candidate who made reducing the number of Americans in prison a priority, 37% said that they would be more likely to support such a candidate.

The importance of a drug crimes lawyer

Current laws in the United States can punish even first time offenders caught with drugs with jail time or other legal consequences. A drug charge can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life. And African American and Latino offenders are arrested more frequently and are statistically more likely to be jailed on drug charges. The reasons for these statistics are debated, but some have argued that members of minority groups are treated unfairly with regard to drug crimes.

For those who have been arrested in connection to a drug charge in South Carolina, it is important to gain access to an experienced drug crimes attorney. You can schedule a free, confidential legal evaluation with a lawyer from Jeffcoat Criminal Defense Lawyers by calling 888-352-8606 at any time, day or night.


  1. Huffington Post, South Carolina Voters Ahead of Candidates on Reforming Drug Laws
  2. Public Policy Polling, South Carolina Survey Results
  3. Drug Policy Alliance, Approaches to Decriminalizing Drug Use and Possession

Warning: This Does Not Constitute Legal Advice. Do not rely on the accuracy of this information because laws are subject to change. You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter. If you take action in your case without an attorney, it may negatively affect your legal rights.

Disclaimer: This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided in this document is not legal advice, cannot be cited as legal authority, and cannot replace the advice of an attorney in South Carolina.

Michael Jeffcoat-Jeffcoat Firm founder and attorney



Michael R. Jeffcoat is a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina with over 2 decades of experience, our aggressive criminal defense legal team can help you with misdemeanor and felony offenses. Mr. Jeffcoat strives to keep all his clients informed at all stages of their case.

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