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US Opioid Abuse: Trump Proposes Death Penalty For Drug Traffickers | The Precision

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•U.S. President Donald Trump
•U.S. President Donald Trump
United States President, Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his long-awaited plan to combat the nation’s opioid addiction crisis.

 

In
a speech at an event in Manchester, N.H., Trump vowed to help create “a
generation of drug-free children” saying, “together, we will end the
scourge of drug addiction in America once and for all.”
Trump said in order to win, it is important to “get tough” with drug dealers.
“If
we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time. And
that toughness includes the death penalty,” he said, to which the
audience responded with applause.
Trump
lamented that under the current law, a dealer could sell a drug that
could kill thousands during their lifetime but only receive a short
prison sentence.
“This
is about winning a very, very tough problem. If we don’t get very tough
on these dealers, it’s not going happen,” Trump warned.
House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned that the president’s proposals need
funding or they will end up being “more broken promises from the Trump
administration.”
“President
Trump’s budget called for staggering cuts to Medicaid, CDC, and mental
health and substance abuse funding that is essential to helping families
afford treatment and overcome the tragedy of opioid addiction,” she
said. “He has worked to destroy the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid
expansion and allow the sale of junk health insurance plans that do not
cover substance abuse treatment. And now, President Trump darkly flirts
with imposing the death penalty for drug crimes.”
Andrew
Bremberg, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, told
reporters on Sunday that capital punishment would be sought against drug
traffickers when appropriate under current law.
When
asked to give examples, Bremberg told reporters to refer to the Justice
Department for “specific legal analysis,” but added, “Obviously there
are instances where that would be appropriate.”
It
remains unclear how prosecutors could seek the death penalty for
traffickers without changing U.S. law. Some legal scholars have said the
issue may need to be decided by the Supreme Court.
Trump
explained the first part of his plan to combat the opioid crisis aims
to reduce drug demand by preventing Americans from becoming addicted in
the first place. That includes increasing federal funding for the
development of non-addictive painkillers, a commercial campaign to raise
awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse, and addressing the
problem in overprescribing. The plan hopes to cut nationwide opioid
prescriptions by one-third over the next three years.
The
second part of the initiative targets the supply of illicit drugs
across U.S. borders and within American communities. Trump told the
audience that the nation needs a stronger southern border and a
crackdown on sanctuary cities that he said supply drugs to the nation’s
heartland.
The
third element focuses on helping people in the throes of addiction by
expanding evidence-based addiction treatment and recovery services.
In
recent speeches, Trump has expressed his preference for the “ultimate
penalty” for some traffickers, but this would be the first time the idea
became part of an official plan.
“Some
countries have a very, very tough penalty. The ultimate penalty. And by
the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do. So, we’re
going to have to be very strong on penalties,” he said earlier this
month at a White House opioid summit.
This
is Trump’s first visit to New Hampshire as president. The state has
been hit hard by the opioid crisis with the nation’s third-highest rate
of deaths from overdoses.
Opioids
include illegal drugs such as heroin or fentanyl, as well as legal
prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine and
morphine.
Every
day, 116 Americans die from opioid-related overdoses. 
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses killed
roughly 64,000 Americans in 2016 alone, more than the number of
Americans killed during the Vietnam War.
About two-thirds of these drug
deaths involved an opioid. (VOA)

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