Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Trump wants death penalty for drug pushers

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:43 AM
President Donald Trump

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP):

Unveiling a long-awaited plan to combat the national scourge of opioid drug addiction, President Donald Trump called yesterday for stiffer penalties for drug traffickers, including embracing a tactic employed by some of the global strongmen he admires: the death penalty.

"Toughness is the thing that they most fear," Trump said.

The president travelled to New Hampshire, a state ravaged by opioids and which is also an early marker for the re-election campaign he has already announced. The president called for broadening awareness about drug addiction while expanding access to proven treatment and recovery efforts, but the backbone of his plan is to toughen the punishment for those caught trafficking highly addictive drugs.

"This isn't about nice anymore," Trump said. "This is about winning a very, very tough problem, and if we don't get very tough on these dealers it's not going to happen, folks ... I want to win this battle."

The president formalised what he had long mused about publicly and privately: that if a person in the United States can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting one person, a similar punishment should be given to a drug dealer who potentially kills thousands.

Trump has long spoken approvingly about countries like Singapore that have fewer issues with drug addiction because they harshly punish their dealers. During a trip to Asia last fall, he did not publicly rebuke Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who authorised extrajudicial killings of his nation's drug dealers.

Outside a local firehouse that Trump visited before the speech, someone compared the leaders with a sign that said: "Donald J. Duterte."