Trump Administration Prepared to Announce Death Penalty for Some Drug Dealers

Some will see this as a good idea, and others will see all the ways it could go horribly wrong.

A new White House plan for combatting the opioid crisis involves the death penalty for certain drug dealers.

I wrote earlier about President Trump’s fascination with nations that have the death penalty for drug dealers, such as Singapore and the Philippines.

This new plan, expected to be released on Monday, would call for the death penalty in any situation where a drug deal can be seen as directly responsible for a death.

I’m guessing they mean either a shootout or an overdose.

 Trump has reportedly been talking privately for weeks about allowing prosecutors to pursue the death penalty in drug cases.

At a campaign event last week, Trump praised countries that execute drug lords.

“If you go to Singapore, I said, ‘Mr. President, what happens with your drugs?’ ‘We don’t have a problem. We have a zero tolerance. We have a different type of people,’ ” Trump said.

“They don’t play games. I said, ‘how are you doing on drugs?’ ‘No problem.’ I said ‘what do you mean no problem?’ ‘We have a zero tolerance policy.’ What does that mean? ‘That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty.’ “

Then there’s Trump’s admiration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is brutal in his extrajudicial killings of drug addicts and dealers.

So what else is involved in this new plan?

The proposal is a mix of law enforcement measures and plans aimed at bolstering prevention, treatment and other efforts, such as urging state adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs and asking Congress to lift a restriction on Medicaid paying for certain inpatient treatment, Politico reported.

Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health crisis back in October, although just declaring it a “national epidemic” holds about the same oomph as “Just say ‘no’ to drugs” without something to back it up.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to have opioid legislation to the floor by Memorial Day weekend, while a bipartisan group of senators have introduced a follow-up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) passed in 2016, dubbed CARA 2.0.

Something needs to be done and I’m sure a reasonable plan can garner bipartisan support.

I can also see just how off the rails the suggestion of the death penalty for drug dealers can go. If Trump attempts to make himself out to be a hardliner on the issue, in the same manner as Duterte, he will cause more to balk than to listen to whatever ideas he has.