"I don't. We've found that we've been hard on drugs and hard on drug dealers for 50 or 60 years now".
The president formalized what he had long mused about: that if a person in the US can get the death penalty or life in prison for shooting one person, a similar punishment should be given to a drug dealer whose product potentially kills thousands.
Speaking at an event focused on the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire, Trump said it was critical to "get tough" on combating the epidemic. Congress approved execution of large-scale drug traffickers back in 1994, but the provision has never been carried out and probably never will, since the Supreme Court has said the Eighth Amendment requires that the death penalty be reserved for "crimes that take the life of the victim". "And that toughness includes the death penalty". "Maybe, although personally I can't understand that".
Cornell Law School Professor John H. Blume said enforcement of the kingpin law tends to net poor minorities considered low- to mid-level drug dealers rather than kingpins whose products are fueling the drug crisis. "This has been something I have been strongly in favor of - spending a lot of money on great commercials showing how bad it is". The plan also supports expanded access to medication-assisted treatment. "We're going to cut nationwide opioid prescriptions by one-third over the next three years", Trump said. At the time, treatment advocates and drug policy experts were concerned the uptick in funding wouldn't be spent wisely and wasn't almost enough. But in a call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto shortly after his inauguration, Trump referred to the state as a "a drug-infested den", drawing fierce criticism from the state's leaders. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid prescriptions fell by 16 percent from 2012 to 2016, while the number of opioid-related deaths rose by 82 percent. "Right now we have a system that continues to execute innocent people".