President Trump took a hard line against drug abuse last weekend when he proposed the idea of the death penalty for drug dealers. The POTUS also accused dealers of “destroying families” and taking “5,000 lives” during their careers. This is the second time in a month the POTUS has suggested execution as a potential fix for America’s opioid epidemic.
• Speaking to voters in Pennsylvania, he painted a picture of how the American penal system fails its citizens by refusing to structure harsher laws. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty. The ultimate penalty,” he said. He also indicated that these other countries, “…have much less of a drug problem than we do.”
• The POTUS insisted that drug dealers claim more lives than even murderers in the United States. “You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail,” he explained. He also stated that Americans “shouldn’t play games.”
• Trump was inspired by China, who currently holds extremely high penalties for even low-level drug related crimes. China’s harshly punitive system seeks execution for anyone caught with as little as 50 grams of any illegal drug. International watchdogs call the laws ineffective, stating that they mostly target addicts and users, and do little to stop the export of heroin and other opiates to countries like the United States.
• China’s drug laws have also come under fire for human rights and discrimination concerns, and not just within their own country. This includes Amnesty International, the United Nations, and the International Harm Reduction Association.
• When the crowd questioned the POTUS on whether executions are too harsh for drug users and dealers, he responded. “We can’t just keep setting up ‘blue ribbon committees’ that do nothing but ‘talk, talk, talk,’” he said. “Probably you’ll have some people who say ‘Oh, that’s not nice,” Trump said. “But we have to do something.”