Trump Plans To Combat Opioid Crisis With The Death Penalty
The United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Addiction is gripping the nation and people are suffering at the hands of opioids. However, Donald Trump claims to have the answer. A top administration official said on Sunday that the president's plan to combat opioid addiction across the country will be announced today and that it calls for drug traffickers to face the death penalty.
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According to the official, the announcement will be made today in New Hampshire, a state that has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. President Trump received substantial backlash last year as a result of the following comment made about New Hampshire:
"I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den - [it] is coming from the southern border."
Democratic senator Maggie Hassan responded to the comment, "Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, [Trump] needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis."
The president aims to be seen as tough on crime and has recently been drawing attention to his preferred punishment for drug dealers.
"The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness," he said.
At a White House summit on opioids, the President made reference to other countries that carry the death penalty for drug trafficking. "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."
One of the nations Trump has cited has been Singapore, which carries harsh punishments for drug dealers.
Here, in the United States, individual states are increasing punishments for crimes in involving deadly drugs like fentanyl, one of the most concerning drugs amidst the opioid crisis. In Florida, people who provide cocaine, heroin or fentanyl to someone who subsequently overdoses can be charged with first-degree murder.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that harsher punishments like the death penalty actually reduce the rate of drug trafficking.
Trump's plan to use the death penalty to stem the tide of drugs into the U.S. also includes broadening education and awareness on treatment and recovery for addicted users.
In 2016, over 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. Many have criticised the Trump administration's efforts regarding the opioid crisis, which have fallen short. It remains unclear whether introducing the death penalty will help control the opioid crisis.