Nov. 11 (UPI) -- More Americans are optimistic now than they were two years ago that progress is being made in the fight against illegal drugs, according to the results of a new survey Monday.
The Gallup poll shows 41 percent of respondents said "much" or "some" progress has been made in the "last year or two." That's an increase from the 32 percent who answered that way in the pollster's 2017 survey.
Three in 10, however, said the United States has lost "some" or "much" ground in the fight, a decline from 37 percent.
The poll showed Republicans were more likely to see improvement, as 17 percent more answered favorably in the new survey. The same responses from Democrats and independents grew just 4 percent each.
Gallup also said in Monday's report 73 percent answered that drugs are a serious U.S. issue -- and 33 percent said they are a serious problem inside their local area. Both readings were similar to what Gallup measured in 2017.
Government figures in July showed drug overdose deaths declined in the United States between 2017 and 2018.
"The opioid crisis peaked in 2017, with 17,000 Americans having died that year from overdoses of prescription opioids," analyst RJ Reinhart said in Gallup's findings. "Deaths from overdoses in general have reportedly declined, from 72,000 in 2017 to an estimated 68,500 in 2018, potentially contributing to views that progress has been made."
Gallup reported last month that U.S. adults are supporting marijuana legalization at near-record levels -- "suggesting the public does not equate marijuana with harder substances," Reinhart said.
Gallup polled more than 1,500 U.S. adults for the survey, which carries a margin of error of 3 points.