President Trump's opioid plan includes death penalty for drug traffickers

Updated: Mar. 20, 2018 at 4:33 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - "Failure is not an option. Addiction is not our future. We will liberate our country from this crisis," President Donald Trump said.

Trump's plan to tackle the opioid crisis focuses on law enforcement, prevention and funding.

"We welcome any measures to help fight this opioid epidemic, because more than 115 people are dying every day from an opioid overdose," DEA Special Agent Debbie Webber said.

Webber said the DEA agrees with the plan to combat the serious problem facing the nation. Trump's plan includes stiffer penalties for drug traffickers with a controversial move to seek the death penalty.

"If we don't get tough on the drug dealers, we're wasting our time. Just remember that - we're wasting our time. That toughness includes the death penalty," Trump said.

"Drug trafficking is a violent crime and drug dealers, drugs, guns and violence go hand-and-hand," Webber said.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said for the president's death penalty proposal to become reality, the federal law would have to change.

"As of right now, you cannot kill a drug dealer based on a conviction. They are going to have to change the law, and it's going to be a lot different than it is now because no one gets the death penalty for drug crimes," Raspanti said.

The Trump administration also wants Congress to pass legislation reducing the amount of drugs necessary to trigger mandatory minimum sentences on drug traffickers.

"This scourge of drug addiction in America will stop. It will stop," Trump said.

Trump's plan also includes a federally backed anti-opioid advertising campaign. Special Agent Webber said educating the public is key.

"We need to get the word out to the community any way we can, whether it's on TV or the events we do in the community," she said.

The president wants to also expand proven treatment options for addicts.

"We need the public's help as well because you're the first line to talk to your family about the dangers of drug abuse before they try something that's dangerous and could possibly kill them," Webber said.

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