The Trump administration has been taking its time coming up with a response to the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic since declaring a national emergency in August 2017. One of President Trump’s big talking points has been giving drug dealers the death penalty, despite no evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to criminal activity, and the fact that President Trump likely got the idea from the regime of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Despite the criticism from both abuse and criminal justice experts, and little support thus far from Congress, President Trump is not backing off.
Speaking at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire — a state that has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic — he unveiled the administration’s opioid response plan, which includes the death penalty for some drug dealers as well as tougher sentencing laws. “We’re wasting our time” if we don’t get tough with drug dealers, Trump said, “and that toughness includes the death penalty.”
Trump added that he didn’t want to have America facing this problem in seven years, presumably when he leaves office. During his speech, he declared that this would be done in a number of ways, including “not so addictive” painkillers, and “great commercials” during “the right shows” that demonstrate to children “how bad” drugs are. “And we’ll make them very, very bad commercials…unsavory situations,” the president said.
While the event eventually morphed into a miniature campaign rally in the battleground state, the administration released details of the plan to the public. Some experts noted some of the relatively popular proposals included, but countered that it would be more prudent to expand Medicaid and prescription drug coverage and ensure prisons have the resources to treat substance abuse and addiction among their inmates.