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2020 Presidential Candidates’ Views on Drugs

2020 Presidential Candidates’ Views on Drugs

With the 2020 presidential election fast approaching in November, candidates from both parties are gearing up their campaigns and talking about the issues.

Along with the usual topics for debate, drug use, addiction, and drug abuse are growing areas of concern. Find out the 2020 presidential candidates’ views on drugs and addiction as well as what their plans are if they get elected.

Democratic Presidential Contenders’ Views on Drugs

Several democratic presidential hopefuls stepped up to the plate, but the field has quickly been clearing out. Find out more about what our possible future president has to say about the opioid crisis, legalizing marijuana, and other drug-related topics.

Joe Biden’s Views on Drugs & Addiction

Especially after Biden’s son struggled with drug abuse and Hunter Biden’s addiction story has been made public, the presidential hopeful has had a lot to say about substance abuse in America. Biden’s view on addiction are focused on getting people help. He has said on more than one occasion that addicts and drug users should get professional help, not go to prison.1 His campaign website elaborates on the opioid crisis specifically saying, “Biden will tackle this crisis by making sure people have access to high quality health care – including substance use disorder treatment and mental health services.”2 His website also goes on to lay out a plan to try and keep matters from getting worse and combating the current opioid crisis with ideas on criminal justice reform and stopping the flow of illicit drugs into the country.2

Biden’s views on marijuana include decriminalizing the drug but not necessarily legalizing marijuana. Most democratic candidates have been pushing to legalize the drug, but Biden has been more hesitant on the matter. Because the majority of democratic voters agree that marijuana should be legal, Biden’s views on marijuana have been wavering and he recently appeared to possibly change his mind with the right scientific evidence to support legalization.3

Bernie Sanders Views on Drugs & Addiction

Bernie Sanders’s view on addiction are similar to Biden’s. He has been open for several years about the need to treat addiction as a disease and not a crime. Sanders has specifically said that, in regards to the opioid crisis, addicts need opioid detox and treatment instead of being put behind bars. He has even gone so far as to blame the pharmaceutical companies for the epidemic.1 In order to get people the help they need, Bernie Sanders has backed Warren’s CARE Act that would commit $100 billion over a ten year period to funding treatment and harm reduction programs across the country.4

Bernie wants to legalize marijuana and expunge records. He was the first major presidential candidate to openly state this plan back in 2016. His also states that he would do so within the first 100 days of his presidency.5

President Trump’s Views on Drugs & Addiction

President for almost four years now, Trump has already had to deal with several drug issues during his term.

Unlike other presidential candidates' views on drugs, Trump’s views on drug abuse and addiction are far less forgiving than the Democratic candidates. In October 2017, Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency and started pouring more funding into programs surrounding this issue. In order to try and combat the opioid crisis, Trump has suggested harsh punishments for drug dealers including execution.1 During his time as president, the Department of Health and Human Services created a five-step plan to combat the opioid crisis, and there has also been a crackdown on medical personnel who were prescribing opioids unnecessarily.6 Trump has also signed an act that provides better funding and screening tools for custom agents at the border.6

Trump’s view on legalizing marijuana have been to hold off on the process. He believes in getting more research on the subject before taking that next step, but for now, legalization should be determined on a state-by-state basis.

It isn’t just the opioid crisis. People across the United States struggle with substance abuse and the presidential candidates' views on addiction matter.

If you or someone you love has a substance abuse or mental health problem, the time is now to get help. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to get started.


  1. On The Issues - Drugs
  3. Politico - Joe Biden kinda, sorta, almost endorses legalizing marijuana
  4. Vox - How the Democratic presidential candidates would combat the opioid epidemic
  5. Politico - Biden’s wariness on marijuana puts another target on his back
  6. com
Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.