President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that having the death penalty be an option for drug dealers might help tackle the current opioid epidemic the country is facing, as providing lethal drugs to people is comparable to murder.
“We have pushers and drugs dealers, they are killing hundreds and hundreds of people. 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,” the President said.
When comparing to other countries that enforce the death penalty on drug dealers, Trump said the U.S. falls short.
“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.
Recent media accounts stated that Trump supports countries that mandate the death penalty for drug traffickers and doesn’t believe that anything less would be a success in the U.S.
Those who oppose Trump’s suggestion believe the government should offer addiction treatment as opposed to prison.
Trump said that over the next few weeks, his administration will divulge new policies to address the opioid crisis, only stating that they would be “very, very strong.”
Trump also publicly supported stricter penalties for pharmaceutical companies and distributors that supply prescription painkillers.
The Justice Department plans to file a statement of interest in litigation, which will include hundreds of lawsuits by states and localities against opioid manufacturers and distributors, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week.
The lawsuit seeks damages that are a result of the substantial costs that stem from the opioid epidemic and should be reimbursed for health programs and law enforcement efforts to combat the crisis.
The Justice Department will argue that the federal government has borne substantial costs due to the opioid epidemic and should be reimbursed for health programs and law enforcement efforts to combat the crisis.
Numerous, similar lawsuits have been filed against companies that allegedly used false, deceptive or unfair marketing practices for prescription opioids.
The federal government is investigating the prospect of initiating its own opioid litigation, Sessions said.