Trump Opioid Proposal Could Open More Inpatient Facilities In Ohio

Frederick Owens
March 20, 2018

President Trump renewed his call for drug traffickers to get the death penalty on Monday, saying he wants to emulate countries with "no tolerance" policies that execute drug dealers.

The plan includes seeking the death penalty for drug dealers and urging Congress to toughen sentencing laws for drug traffickers, according to White House officials.

The plan, reportedly called the Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse, will focus on three areas: reducing demand and overprescription of opioids, increasing treatment and recovery services, and tougher law enforcement and sentencing laws.

"Up in New Hampshire - I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den - [it] is coming from the southern border". Opioid-related hospital visits rose 30 percent from 2016 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier in March.

Trump went on to say that dealers "will kill thousands of people during their lifetime" but won't be punished for the carnage they cause. "Some countries have a very, very tough penalty".

The concept of the death penalty for certain drug traffickers is something Trump has been outspoken about, but this will be the first time it will be part of an official administration plan. And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.

"This approach is also disturbingly reminiscent of the war on drugs, which set back American drug policy decades, and codified harm to black and brown people - laws we have just begun to reverse", said Jessalyn McCurdy, deputy director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office.

The embattled U.S. president also plans a campaign to educate people on the dangers of opioid abuse.

Mr Trump drew criticism past year after leaked transcripts of his telephone conversation with Mexico's president published in the Washington Post showed he had described New Hampshire as a "drug-infested den".

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Bremberg told reporters that the death penalty would likely be brought against those who traffic large quantities of risky drugs like fentanyl.

The Trump administration's effort has internally been led by Conway, the President's senior aide, but has also included conversations with a series of other agencies, including the departments of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and State.

"More than 115 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses in this country, and in 2016, opioid overdose deaths surpassed breast cancer deaths", she said.

The proposals will also seek to help those addicted to opioids by expanding access to treatment facilities.

Mr Trump said he wanted Congress to approve $6bn ($4.2bn) in new funding in 2018-19 to help fight the opioid crisis.

He further said that the only way to deal with the problem of drugs is to catch a drug dealer and put him away for a very, very long time. "We're going to change that".

Trump has declared that fighting the epidemic is a priority for the administration, but critics say the effort has fallen short.

In addition, Trump announced a new program by Adapt Pharma, maker of the life-saving overdose antidote naloxone, known largely by its brand name Narcan.

The budget deal signed by President Donald Trump last month includes $6 billion over two years to address the crisis, a fraction of what most public-health and addiction experts believe is required. Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a persistent Trump critic, visited New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first presidential primary, last week.

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