President Trump announced a controversial new plan to impose the death penalty on drug traffickers responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic. Although Trump declined to provide specific circumstances under which a convicted dealer would face capital punishment, a senior administration official explained that “appropriate” parameters would be established.
Trump announced the death-penalty plan during a recent White House gathering focusing on opioid abuse. According to White House officials, it would include a nationwide goal of reducing opioid prescriptions being filled by one-third within three years.
Overdose death from opioids have been on the rise reaching crisis levels. According to the CDC, in 2016 nearly 64,000 people died from all drug overdoses across the country, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.
Not everyone agrees with the plan. Some critics see it as too draconian while others feel that cutting back on prescriptions could lead people dependent on pain medicine to shift to illegal drugs, such as heroin, which have recently seen a rapid increase in fatal overdoses.
“This isn’t about nice anymore,” Trump said. “This is about winning a very, very tough problem and if we don’t get very tough on these dealers it’s not going to happen folks. … I want to win this battle.”
“Toughness is the thing that they most fear,” Trump said.
It is not yet clear where the funding for the new program would come from leading some to speculate that it would be a combination of state and private funding similar to the administration’s infrastructure plan unveiled earlier this year. A senior administration official has indicated that a portion would come from the $6 billion Congress recently appropriated to combat the opioid epidemic.
Douglas is a leading technologist & key strategist with more than two decades experience in the health care and manufacturing industries.