White House: Trump to seek death penalty for drug dealers

Donald Trump is set to announce a new plan today that could see drug dealers getting the death penalty.

"Extreme proposals like using the death penalty only perpetuate a harmful stigma associated with opioid use disorders and divert attention from meaningful conversations and progress on expanding access to treatment, recovery, and other public health initiatives", he said.

"A drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life". There are lots of different levels of drug dealers.

"The first lady wants to focus on the well-being of children with ads that lay out you are a somebody, not a statistic, don't start with drugs, and educate them", the official said.

"I don't think we should play games", he said, telling the crowd it doesn't matter whether his idea is popular.

Trump has previously mooted the "ultimate" punishment for drug dealers, and is said to have spoken in glowing terms about the policies of deeply controversial Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte, who has ordered extra-judicial killings of traffickers.

White House officials said on Sunday that President Donald Trump's plan to combat the opioid crisis would "seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when appropriate under current law", according to Politico.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fastest increase has come in overdoses from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, which accounted for about 20,000 deaths in 2016, according to the CDC.

In 2008, the Supreme Court held that constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment barred the use of the death penalty in cases involving the rape of a child if the crime did not result in death or was not meant to do so. The Trump administration hopes to accomplish that through changes in federal reimbursement rates and enhancing state prescription drug monitoring programs.

Trump's plan also calls on reducing the flow of illicit drugs across borders, expanded prosecution of opioid manufacturers, distributors and doctors, and scaling up local drug courts for offenders struggling with addiction.

Opioid-related overdoses killed 42,000 people in 2016, and early estimates suggest the problem worsened in 2017 and will surpass the AIDS epidemic's toll at its height in the mid-1990s.

The president will reportedly release his strategy during a visit to New Hampshire Monday, a state where residents have been hit hard by addiction issues.

To reduce the supply of foreign fentanyl, Mr. Trump wants to require advanced electronic data on 90 percent of packages that enter the US, so customs agents can target suspicious drug shipments. "He wants to shock people into not using it".

Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the USA in 2016, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cutting back on prescriptions could also lead people who have become dependent on pain killers to shift to illegal drugs, such as heroin, or others, such as fentanyl, which already accounts for a significant number of overdoses.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill lawmakers from both parties are trying to put muscle behind Mr. Trump's decision last fall to declare opioid addiction a public health emergency.

Trump convened an opioid commission a year ago, which introduced its final recommendations on how to curb the epidemic on November 1.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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