The Trump Administration is finishing a plan for mitigating the opioid crisis, and may include a controversial measure that utilizes the death penalty for drug dealers.
The proposal was leaked this week. It would leave the harshest possible punishment on the table for those convicted in cases where opioid sales or trafficking directly leads to death.
The details of the plan are scarce, some experts even saying it cannot possible be a serious idea, but at least one lawmaker supports the measure, and he spoke about his support Thursday.
Chris Collins, a Republican from New York, said that he is “all in” on the idea.
Democrats provided a different perspective to the issue, saying that the costs of the War on Drugs have been high, that we are still paying the price, and that “we will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic.”
Trump has floated the idea publicly within the last few weeks, emphasizing “toughness” in drug policy.
He said that “the drug dealers, the drug pushers–they’re really doing damage” despite the fact that many of the drug dealers in today’s opioid epidemic are doctors who are over-prescribing opioid painkillers, some of them bribed by the companies who make them.
Trump equated capital punishment with lower drug use, but drug policy reformers rejected the suggestion, and instead promoted public solutions like safe injection sites and needle exchanges.
The president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Kevin Ring, suggested that the harsher approach wouldn’t necessarily have the intended effect.
“I think it’s counterproductive,” he said. “I don’t think it’s useful to the opioid crisis. It’s likely not a workable solution; it’s not a practical solution. It’s either going to drawn up so broad it’s going to be unconstitutional or it’s going to be so narrow that it’s useless.”