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March 19, 2018

Highlights from Prez Trump's tough talk about the opioid crisis and federal response

This FoxNews piece, headlined "Trump declares war on opioid abuse, calls for death penalty for traffickers, more access for treatment," provides some details on Prez Trump's comments on the opioid crisis today in New Hampshire.  Here are excerpts:

Speaking from one of the states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, President Trump on Monday laid out a battle plan that calls for harsher sentences — and even the death penalty — for traffickers.

Trump called for expanded treatment options for victims in the Manchester, N.H., speech, but leveled most of his emphasis on beefed-up enforcement. And he heaped plenty of scorn on the people he believes are responsible for as many as 42,000 U.S. deaths per year. "These are terrible people and we have to get tough with those people," Trump said of traffickers and dealers. "This isn’t about committees... this is about winning a very tough problem."

"The ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty," Trump said, before musing, "maybe our country is not ready for that."

Trump wants Congress to pass legislation reducing the amount of drugs needed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers who knowingly distribute certain illicit opioids. The death penalty would be pursued where appropriate under current law. Justice Department says the federal death penalty is available for several limited drug-related offenses, including violations of the "drug kingpin" provisions in federal law.

Trump reiterated an observation he has shared several times before — that a person in the U.S. can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting one person, but that a drug dealer whose actions could lead to thousands of overdoses can spend little or no time in jail.

The president said the federal government may consider aggressive litigation against pharmaceutical companies deemed complicit in the crisis. "Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you and we will arrest you and we will hold you accountable," Trump said.

Trump singled out Mexico and China as main sources of illicit opioids. A Drug Enforcement Administration report last year said: "Seizures indicated that China supplies lower volumes of high-purity fentanyl, whereas fentanyl seizures from Mexico are higher volume but lower in purity."...

Trump also announced a nationwide public awareness campaign, as well as increased research and development through public-private partnerships between the federal National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies. He announced a new website, Crisisnextdoor.gov, where people can share their stories about addiction. The hope is that horror stories will scare people away from behavior that could lead to addiction. The Trump administration aims to see the number of filled opioid prescriptions cut by one-third within three years.

A third part of the plan addresses improving access to treatment and recovery programs that have proven effective. Many health professionals, relatives of those who have died of overdoses and people who have experienced addiction to opioids have been pushing for treatment to be a key component of any campaign to fight the epidemic. "Failure is not an option," the president said. "Addiction is not our future. We will liberate our country from this crisis."...

Meanwhile, Congress plans to weigh a range of bills targeted at curbing the epidemic. The bills cover everything from improving access to treatment to intercepting shipments of illicit opioids en route to the United States. "Our recommendations will be urgent and bipartisan, and they will come very quickly," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to published reports.

Interestingly, though the media (and Prez Trump himself in his spoken remarks) are making much of the death penalty and other tough-on-crime pieces of the plan, this official White House accounting of the plans, described as "President Donald J. Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand," gives significantly more attention to public health elements and actions.

Prior related posts:

March 19, 2018 at 04:34 PM | Permalink


Need to take a look at the thread a few days ago, add up the cost of the sentence, supervised release, if life, all of the appeals that David B loves to snag lawyers with.

Then say, is this worth the cost? Then when the feds postbthe sentence in the paper, include the cost the names of Ausa and Judge.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Mar 19, 2018 6:05:25 PM

its not the drug dealers, its the pharmacutical companies, peddaling the crap all over America.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Mar 19, 2018 6:06:36 PM

The Supreme Court will not allow death for drug dealing, as Joe analyzed correctly.

One potential benefit of the opioid crisis may the impeachment of Justices of the Supreme Court who get in the way of what Trump wants. To deter.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 19, 2018 7:20:31 PM

Midwest. Krasner calculated that it costs $42000 to imprison a guy in Philly for a year. That comes out to $24 cost to prevent each of 200 crimes a year.

Find a better bargain, a better return on investment, for any human activity, legal or criminal.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 19, 2018 7:24:00 PM

David, you conveniently omitted the millions for appeals that go with the death penalty.

Recalc time.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Mar 20, 2018 5:53:18 PM

Midwest. What are you implying? The lawyers of Trump persuaded him to produce the lawyer rent? And these dealers have $millions to spend on appeals. One major factor across studies is that privately paying defendants almost never get the death penalty.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 21, 2018 7:39:23 AM

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