Trump opioid plan will include death penalty for some drug dealers: report

Trump opioid plan will include death penalty for some drug dealers: report
© Greg Nash

A White House plan to combat the opioid crisis calls for the death penalty to be imposed on certain drug dealers, according to a new report.

The report, in Politico, says the Trump plan will call for the death penalty as an option when dealing and trafficking are "directly responsible for death" in cases involving opioids. 

The plan is still being finalized but could be released as early as Monday.

Trump has reportedly been talking privately for weeks about allowing prosecutors to pursue the death penalty in drug cases.

At a campaign event last week, Trump praised countries that execute drug lords.

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"If you go to Singapore, I said, 'Mr. President, what happens with your drugs?' 'We don't have a problem. We have a zero tolerance. We have a different type of people,' " Trump said.

"They don't play games. I said, 'how are you doing on drugs?' 'No problem.' I said 'what do you mean no problem?' 'We have a zero tolerance policy.' What does that mean? 'That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty.' "

Trump's plan has reportedly been circulating among political appointees this month and includes many recommendations from Trump’s opioid commission, which released a final report in November, as well as ideas discussed at the White House’s opioid summit earlier this month.

The proposal is a mix of law enforcement measures and plans aimed at bolstering prevention, treatment and other efforts, such as urging state adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs and asking Congress to lift a restriction on Medicaid paying for certain inpatient treatment, Politico reported.

In late October, Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, a move the administration extended another 90 days in mid-January.

But some advocates have been critical of the declaration, saying it hasn’t amounted to changes of consequence for an epidemic that shows no signs of abating.  

Deaths involving opioids increased nearly 28 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are hashing out legislation aimed at combating the opioid epidemic.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to have opioid legislation to the floor by Memorial Day weekend, while a bipartisan group of senators have introduced a follow-up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) passed in 2016, dubbed CARA 2.0.

Updated at 2:28 p.m.