Ronald Reagan Signs Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Title: A bill to strengthen Federal efforts to encourage foreign cooperation in eradicating illicit drug crops and in halting international drug traffic, to improve enforcement of Federal drug laws and enhance interdiction of illicit drug shipments, to provide strong Federal leadership in establishing effective drug abuse prevention and education programs, to expand Federal support for drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation efforts, and for other purposes.

When it comes to Reagan's legacy in drug policy – the drug war, of which he played a major though not lone role in escalating to an unprecedented level – even staunch Reagan enthusiasts are less likely to brag about it than other issues he impacted. Though polling has found that 3/4 of Americans support the drug war, polls also show that 3/4 of Americans consider the drug war to be a failure, and a number of high-level Reagan administration officials have broken fundamentally with the drug war ideology his administration vigorously espoused – votes of confidence in neither case by any means. While some drug war advocates point to decreases in casual drug use rates during the 1980s as measured by government surveys, others point to much more hard-hitting and more accurately measured phenomena such as increased drug trade violence, constant addiction rates, an explosion of HIV transmission through injection drug use, and the rapid growth, seemingly from nowhere, of crack cocaine into a widespread habit having deleterious effects on the nation's inner cities.