In NH, Trump calls for getting tough on drug dealers

20 March, 2018, 04:44 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Trump Takes on the Opioid Crisis: 'Keep Out the Damn Drugs,' Death Penalty For Dealers

Trump spoke in New Hampshire today, where he called for increased law enforcement against drug traffickers and said blue-ribbon committees are "wasting our time" if they don't get tougher on distributors.

President Donald Trump said on Monday that USA citizens pay far more for prescription drugs than people in other countries and he promised to roll out a plan soon to bring down prices.

Mr. Trump's plan will likely spark pushback from Democratic lawmakers and public health professionals who say harsher penalties would invoke a failed "war on drugs" from decades past and stigmatize people in the grips of addiction.

"Eventually the Democrats will agree with us" to build the wall and "to keep the damn drugs out", Trump said.

This is Trump's first visit as president to New Hampshire.

Trump's victory in the Granite State's 2016 GOP primary set his campaign on a course to win the nomination. Funding for opioid programs was boosted by $6 billion in a budget deal passed last month, but many think that is not enough to make a dent in the crisis, and that any money should be directly allocated to the places that are hardest hit.

At an event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump unveiled an anti-opioid abuse plan, including his death penalty recommendation, new funding for other initiatives and stiffer sentencing laws for drug dealers.

Earlier, President Donald Trump dropped in on New Hampshire firefighters before he gave his speech about the nation's opioid drug crisis.

Trump has expressed his preference of the "ultimate penalty" for some drug traffickers in recent speeches, but this would be the first time the idea becomes part of an official plan.

President Trump praised countries with "zero tolerance for drug dealers" who use the death penalty on drug dealers, and lobbied for the use it on March 19. "For the big pushers, the ones that are really killing so many people, and that penalty is going to be the death penalty", he said, pointing out dealers are responsible for thousands of deaths.

"Maybe our country's not ready for that and it's possible", Trump said, but added that he viewed it as a necessary step to have a meaningful impact.

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"We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic", Democratic senator Ed Markey said last week.

"If we don't get very tough on these dealers, it's not going to happen, folks".

Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the 2016, more than any other year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"My Department of Justice will be seeking so many, much tougher penalties than we've ever had".

Last October, Trump declared the crisis a national public health emergency, short of the national state of emergency sought by a presidential commission he put together to study the issue.

But Iran also imposes the death penalty for drug use, yet it is plagued by opiate addiction.

"We call it the crisis next door because everyone knows someone", said Kellyanne Conway, a Trump senior adviser.

The stop in New Hampshire will be Trump's first as president.

Some in the state were offended previous year when Trump described the state as a "drug-infested den". "These were great kids who had jobs and would have benefited their communities." she said. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a persistent Trump critic.

Mr. Trump will push the get-tough measures as part of a broad strategy to combat opioid abuse, including the start of a nationwide campaign to highlight the dangers of drug abuse and a push to slash the number of prescription opioid fills by one-third within three years.


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