In February President Donald Trump announced that he would like to change the laws of the United States to provide for the execution of drug dealers. He was reported as saying “You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.”
Well apparently he is serious, and is taking steps to fulfill his dream of instituting the death penalty for drug dealers, who he thinks are as bad as serial killers.
According to press reports, Trump will be in New Hampshire today and announce his plan to fight the opioid crisis. This plan is being labeled as his “initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand.”
In the initiative Trump will call for the U.S. Department of Justice to “seek the death penalty against drug traffickers, where appropriate under current law.” It is not clear, however, what the president thinks is “appropriate” under the federal laws now in effect for drug crimes.
A previous draft of the initiative took a harder line on when the administration might seek the death penalty against drug traffickers. This indicates that perhaps someone in his staff has informed him that he can’t just execute whoever he wants, which is what happens in the Asian countries he admires. For example, he has expressed admiration for the Philippines where President Duterte’s “drug war” has resulted in,000 drug users and sellers without due process of law or jury trials.
Trump will also reportedly ask Congress to pass a law to lower the quantity of drugs that it would take to invoke mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers.
At a rally in Pennsylvania recently Trump told his audience he wanted to add the death penalty for drug dealers and asserted that America was not harsh enough in its treatment of drug traffickers.
“You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail,” Trump said at the rally. “That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”
The new White House initiative asks for a three-pronged approach to the opioid crisis:
- bolstering law enforcement,
- educating people about the dangers of opioid abuse (as well as over-prescribing of drugs) and,
- improving funding for treatment of drug addiction.
The goal of the president’s plan is to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third within three years and ensure that healthcare providers adopt best practices for prescribing these addictive drugs.