The Trump administration is finalizing a plan to combat the opioid crisis that will call for changing mandatory minimums for drug traffickers and include language urging prosecutors to seek the death penalty as an option for drug dealers in fatal opioid overdose cases.
The plan, first reported by Politico, is expected to be released in New Hampshire on Monday where President Trump will make stops in Manchester. New Hampshire has some of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the country, according to the Center For Disease Control, coming in third after West Virginia and Ohio.
During an appearance at the White House’s summit on the opioid crisis earlier in March, the president mused about other countries that give the death penalty to drug dealers, like the Philippines. Mr. Trump has praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte for his crackdown on drugs despite global criticism of the leader’s bloody drug war that has resulted in extrajudicial executions.
“The administration’s going to be rolling out policy over the next three weeks, and it’ll be very, very strong,” Mr. Trump said at the summit.
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty,” the president added at the time. “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. Hopefully we can do some litigation against the opioid companies.”
For now, the White House is not talking about the policy, though, saying in a statement, “For the first time since the campaign, the President and First Lady will be traveling to New Hampshire on Monday to further enforce the administration’s commitment to combatting the opioid crisis. We don’t comment on alleged drafts of leaked documents.”
On Saturday in a rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump claimed that there are no drug issues in Singapore and China because they “have zero tolerance policy” and “if they catch a drug dealer, it is then a death penalty.”
“If somebody goes and shoots somebody, or kills somebody, they go away for life and they can even get the death penalty, right?” the president said. “A drug dealer will kill 2,3, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life. Thousands of people are killed or their lives are destroyed, their families are destroyed. So you can kill thousands of people and go to jail for 30 days.”