Most Favor the Death Penalty for Fentanyl Dealers

70 percent of Americans believe fentanyl drug abuse is a “very serious” issue in the United States.  

  • This percentage consists of majorities of men, women, whites, blacks, Hispanics, all age groups, and partisan identities.  

An additional 23 percent of Americans believe fentanyl drug abuse is a “somewhat serious” problem.  

WHY IT MATTERS – Fentanyl overdose deaths reached a new record in 2022 and have been a major contributing factor to average life expectancy in the United States dropping by three years since 2019.  

SERIOUS CRIME, SERIOUS PUNISHMENT – A smaller majority of Americans – 58 percent – favor the death penalty for fentanyl dealers. This includes:  

  • 60 percent of men and 59 percent of women 
  • 59 percent of whites, 59 percent of Blacks, and 68 percent of Hispanics 
  • 72 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of Independents, and 57 percent of Democrats 

NO EASY ANSWER – However, when it comes to how to reduce the problem of fentanyl drug abuse, there is much less agreement.  

  • Only 38 percent agree that the death penalty for fentanyl dealers would help. A similar amount does not think it would and the rest are not sure.  
  • Fifty percent of Americans believe increased law enforcement would help. 
  • Forty-six percent believe securing the southern border would help.  

BOTTOM LINE – Americans know fentanyl abuse is a major problem but there is no such agreement on what can be done to help.  


This Counterpolling™ survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted online by Scott Rasmussen on January 3-5, 2022. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 2.8 percentage points.