Imagine that… liberals mad because a death penalty option is being considered for drug dealers.
President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested using the death penalty on drug dealers to address the opioid epidemic, equating providing lethal drugs with murder.
“We have pushers and drugs dealers, they are killing hundreds and hundreds of people,” Trump said at a White House summit on opioid abuse. “If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These people can kill 2,000, 3,000 people and nothing happens to them.”
Trump said countries that impose the death penalty on drug dealers have a better record than the United States in combating substance abuse.
“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty — and by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do,” he said.
The remarks follow media reports earlier this week that Trump has privately praised countries like Singapore that mandate the death penalty for drug traffickers, arguing a softer approach to substance abuse won’t be successful.
The remarks are likely to rankle administration critics who have urged the White House to focus on the public health component of the opioid crisis. The president’s remarks did not touch on health approaches like providing additional funding for treatment.
“It makes us all very nervous” that the U.S. could move back to a “penal-first approach,” said Andrew Kessler, who leads Slingshot Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in behavioral health policy that advocates for substance abuse treatment and prevention. “I have no love for high-level traffickers or cartels, but a very high percentage of people who sell drugs do it to support their own habit.”
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