DOJ plans to seek death penalty in drug overdose cases when 'appropriate'

Trump's opioid plan will include the death penalty for drug traffickers where it's 'appropriate under current law'

Trump's opioid plan will include the death penalty for drug traffickers where it's 'appropriate under current law'

President Trump is set to unveil his plan to deal with the ongoing opioid crisis which is impacting the country.

Trump convened an opioid commission a year ago, which introduced its final recommendations on how to curb the epidemic November 1.

"The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it's appropriate under current law", said Andrew Bremberg, director of Mr Trump's Domestic Policy Council, in the briefing detailing the plan.

"Right now, possession of these drugs is nearly always a federal crime", the official added.

"His plan will address, and he will address, the stiffening of penalties for the people who are bringing the poison into our communities", the official added.

The president has at times expressed admiration for countries with draconian penalties for trafficking drugs. "These people [who sell drugs] can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them", he said.

"Thousands of people are killed or their lives are destroyed, their families are destroyed". And they don't even put you in jail, they don't do anything.

A DOJ official wrote in an email that "Under current law, the federal death penalty is available for several limited drug-related offenses-for example through violations of the "drug kingpin" provisions in 18 USC 3591 (b) and 21 USC 848 (e)".

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.

Mr. Trump's plan will likely spark pushback from Democratic lawmakers and public health professionals who say harsher penalties would invoke a failed "war on drugs" from decades past and stigmatize people in the grips of addiction.


Trump will announce the plans Monday at an event in New Hampshire, which has the third highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

Kellyanne Conway, who was also on the call, called the opioid crisis a non-partisan "crisis next door" and said resolving the epidemic is a priority for the administration.

The panel will also consider legislation to let doctors know if patients have a history of addiction, to study how many teens are using injectable drugs and to boost efforts to interdict fentanyl, a synthetic opioid blamed for the recent spike in overdose deaths.

The fastest increase has come in overdoses from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, which accounted for about 20,000 deaths in 2016, according to the CDC.

A nationwide campaign to educate people on the dangers of opioid abuse will also be launched. He'll be accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.

As for the ad campaign, both are coming at it differently, the official said.

The President is also expected to visit Manchester Central Fire Station on Merrimack Street on Monday, though White House sources said they could not confirm that portion of Trump's itinerary for security reasons. "The President is more shock the conscience".

He wants federal resources to assist states in expanding the use of overdose-reversing naloxone and medication-assisted treatment, which has a proven track record of success.

Trump convened an opioid commission past year, which introduced its final recommendations on how to curb the epidemic on November 1.

New Hampshire is friendlier political territory for Trump than California, which he visited last week.

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