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Most oppose Trump’s call for death penalty for drug dealers

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Nearly three-quarters of Americans oppose death sentences for individuals convicted of selling drugs that lead to lethal overdoses, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Thursday.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said that imposing the death penalty for such drug convictions would not help stop the opioid epidemic.

Overall, 71 percent oppose such a policy. A majority of Republican respondents also said they were against the proposal, 57 percent to 35 percent.

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The poll results come a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country encouraging federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in some drug trafficking cases. 

“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes in our nation,” Sessions wrote in the memo.

President Trump announced earlier this week a three-pronged plan to combat the opioid epidemic. That announcement included a mandate for the Justice Department to seek the death penalty for some offenders when appropriate under current law.

While Americans may not support imposing the death penalty for some drug dealers, a majority still supports capital punishment in general. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that the death penalty should not be abolished, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

The poll was conducted from March 16 to 20, and surveyed 1,291 U.S. voters nationwide. It’s margin of error is 3.3 percentage points.

Tags Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Justice Department Opioid epidemic

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