Death Penalty for Drug Dealers 💉

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How to stop the opioid crisis

President Trump has rolled out a three-part plan to stop the opioid epidemic, which includes pushing the death penalty for major drug dealers. He also hopes to include harsher punishment for all lesser drug-related crimes. The President has received some backlash since capital punishment is illegal in 19 states. 

The three parts

  1. Reduce drug demand with education
  2. Cut off the flow of drugs
  3. Save more lives with evidence-based addiction treatment

The new rules

The harsher punishments would include a five-year jail sentence for anyone found selling 2 grams of synthetic opioid fentanyl. Currently, you would have to sell 40 grams to get a five-year jail sentence.


Leaning Right:

Weekly Standard: This Is Fine: House Republicans Open to Trump's 'Drug Dealer Death Penalty'
Evening Tribune: Matthew T. Mangino: Death for drug dealers not so far-fetched

 

The right believes the death penalty could be a ‘useful tool’ in fighting drug addiction because there would be ‘real consequences’ for dealers. They also point out that the left is only focusing on the death penalty portion of Trump’s plan, even though it also includes increasing access to naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote), and instituting an advertising campaign discouraging American youth from trying drugs. Remember Just Say No?

Leaning Left:

CNN: Trump's death penalty plan for drug dealers a 'step backwards,' experts say
Washington Post: The best strategy on opioids isn’t an enforcement sledgehammer

 

The left says that Trump’s plan to tackle America’s drug problem with an ‘enforcement sledgehammer’ will give him media attention, but do little to solve the problem. They discuss how Trump is risking falling into ‘draconian’ enforcement procedures that have been ‘ineffectual’ in the past, and how capital punishment can have questionable effectiveness, since it is expensive (~$1 million per person executed), and is not proven to deter crime.


How solid is Trump's opioid plan?

Pushing the death penalty for drug dealers will be a hard sell for Trump, since support for capital punishment isn't all that high. However, other parts of Trump’s plan are realistic and are being overlooked since most of the media is focused on the death penalty part. Increasing access to Naloxone to help addicts, for example, is something many public health experts agree with. Trump’s plan may need some tweaking, but just because parts of it should be reconsidered does not mean it is wholly without merit. The bigger question is, will he put his money where his mouth is?

 

Definitely want pizza now

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