The "War on Drugs" began 40 years ago today, and there are a slew of op-eds and articles criticizing it (including an NYT op-ed by Jimmy Carter). It is telling that there are no such examples praising it.
In fact, the vast majority of Americans believe this "war" has failed. From an April 2011 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll:
"We are losing the drug war" (74% Agree, 20% Disagree, 6% Unsure)This is consistent with many past polls. There is no consensus about precisely what we should do, but there is broad agreement that what we're currently doing has not worked.
"We will never be able to stop drugs from coming into this country because the demand for drugs is so high in the U.S." (74% Agree, 24% Disagree, 2% Unsure)
The more vocal opposition to drug policy has coincided with the increase of violence in Mexico. There may well be a correlation. A high level of violence in, say, Colombia, does not get the attention of the U.S. public, whereas in Mexico it does.