President Trump will make good on his promise to seek the death penalty for drug dealers with the unveiling of a new plan to combat the opioid crisis.
Trump is due to outline the plan at an event in New Hampshire Monday, a state that has been hit hard by the epidemic. The plan, reportedly called the Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse, will focus on three areas: reducing demand and overprescription of opioids, increasing treatment and recovery services, and tougher law enforcement and sentencing laws.
It is this last tenet of the plan that has garnered the most attention in recent weeks, after Trump suggested using the death penalty for drug dealers at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier in March. Trump has suggested that it is drug dealers who are responsible for the thousands of opioid-related deaths in recent years.
While the White House has yet to outline which specific circumstances would warrant seeking the death penalty, the director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg stated that, “The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it’s appropriate under current law.”
Nevertheless, one official told CNN that such a punishment would be reserved for big-time dealers, specifically those who traffic opioids like fentanyl, not people who “are growing pot in the backyard or a friend who has a low-level possession crime.”
Beyond this, the initiative will reportedly include a public-awareness campaign about drug abuse, screening of prison inmates for opioid addiction, and a research and development partnership between the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies to look into opioid prescription alternatives.