Washington, March 20 (IANS) President Donald Trump has said that he would ask for the death penalty for certain “really bad” convicted drug traffickers and will try to toughen sentencing guidelines in an attempt to fight the opioid epidemic that takes 175 lives per day in the US.
On Monday, Trump travelled to New Hampshire to present his plan to deal with the opioid crisis that will have the Department of Justice request the death penalty for drug traffickers although current law does not allow it, reports Efe news.
“This scourge of drug addiction in America will stop,” Trump said in a speech in Manchester.
“It will stop. Failure is not an option. We will raise a drug-free generation of American children.”
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were accompanied by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several cabinet members to launch the administration’s “Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse” at the Manchester Community College.
“We have to get tough on these people,” said Trump.
“These are terrible people, and that toughness includes the death penalty. They will kill thousands of people in their lifetime, and yet they get caught and go away for 30 days.
“This isn’t about nice anymore… No more ‘let’s have everyone go to a blue ribbon committee and get a medal.’ This is about a very tough problem. If we don’t get tough on these dealers, we are not going to win this battle. I don’t want to leave at the end of seven years and still have this problem,” he said.
Trump said that it was “possible” that Americans might not be prepared to impose the death penalty on all drug traffickers, as some other nations do.
The event was attended by more than 250 community members, law enforcement officials, first responders and local families affected by the opioid crisis.
Also in the audience were New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.
Sessions confirmed in a statement that his department will utilise federal law to seek the death penalty “when appropriate”.
US law permits applying the death penalty only in cases of murders linked to drug trafficking or drugs, according to the independent Death Penalty Information Centre.
The Trump administration also had considered imposing capital punishment on people who traffic even small quantities of fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid used as a painkiller.
Current anti-drug law establishes penalties of up to 20 years behind bars for small traffickers and reserves a term of life in prison for especially serious cases.
According to US Centres for Disease Control figures, 64,000 people died of opioid overdoses in in 2016.