The war on drugs and the opioid epidemic in America has prompted President Trump to crack down on drug dealers and traffickers with harsher penalties, including the death penalty.
Drug Dealers May Face the Death Penalty
To combat the current opioid crisis in the United States, the Trump administration is finalizing a plan that will change mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers and dealers. Trump’s proposed plan includes a combination of prevention and treatment measures, as well as harsher penalties. In cases of fatal opioid overdoses, President Trump is urging prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers.
The President’s plan was recently released at the opioid summit in New Hampshire where opioid death rates are the third highest in the country, next to West Virginia and Ohio. During the summit, President Trump talked extensively about other countries that mandate the death penalty for drug dealers. Despite the bloody drug war and executions going on in the Philippines, he praised Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine’s president, for his crackdown on drugs where drug dealers get the death penalty. He also talked about the “zero tolerance policy” in China and Japan where drugs are not an issue.
The president’s proposed plan comes after state health officials made complaints that he was not acting fast enough to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. Although some Republicans back the president’s plan, many Democrats are concerned about harsher drug-related penalties. They have commented that imposing the death penalty on drug dealers will not stop the opioid epidemic or provide a solution for the failed war on drugs in America.
Under the latest version of President Trump’s plan, the administration proposes to make changes to the way the government handles payments for opioid prescriptions so it can limit accessibility to opioid pain pills for consumers. The plan will also make changes to Medicaid payments for certain treatments, making it easier for patients who are addicted to opioid drugs to receive inpatient care. The president will also create a new Justice Department task force to aggressively monitor internet sales of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Opioid Addiction in the U.S.
Opioid and prescription drug abuse have created a dangerous epidemic that has spread across the United States at a rapid rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half a million people died in America between 2000 and 2014 from opioid overdose deaths. This alarming epidemic that impacts all segments of society and all age groups is largely attributed to physicians over-prescribing opioid drugs and painkillers to patients who become addicted to the medications. Opioid addiction is now commonly seen among teenagers and young adults, stay-at-home-moms, professional business leaders, politicians, and even medical professionals.
According to statistics from the CDC, there were over 250 million opioid drugs prescribed in America in 2014. Natural or semi-synthetic opioid pain pills like oxycodone and hydrocodone were the most commonly prescribed drugs and attributed to the most opioid overdose deaths. CDC records show more than 800 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2014, a nine percent increase from 2013. Overall deaths from opioid abuse and heroin have quadrupled over the last ten years in the U.S.
Addiction and abuse of opioid drugs like morphine, heroin, and prescription painkillers is a serious problem for many Americans. Prescription opioid drugs, as well as many stimulants and depressants, present major possibilities for long-term addiction and death from overdose. Prescription opioid drugs are similar to heroin and morphine in the way they affect the brain. They are powerful, fast-acting drugs that present a high chance of addiction because of an intense high that the brain becomes reliant on. Prescription opioid drugs often lead to addiction, and overdose is much more frequent when pills are crushed and snorted to obtain a fast, euphoric high or taken in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs. Once a person becomes addicted, it is extremely difficult to break the cycle without professional help from a detox treatment center.
Whether President Trump’s plan to stop the opioid epidemic will work remains to be seen, if it goes into effect at all. The illegal drug trade has been operating in the United States for hundreds of years without much consequence from law enforcement or political officials. The opioid epidemic now affects millions of Americans, making profits for drug dealers and traffickers even greater. The opioid crisis seems to be growing with no end in sight. Within the last few years, the U.S. has seen a consistent increase in the number of people dying from street drugs and opioid prescription painkillers.