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Trump to clamp down on opioid dealers - including seeking the death penalty

Trump to clamp down on opioid dealers - including seeking the death penalty

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.

He added that the "drug dealers" and "drug pushers" are "really doing (the) damage".

Trump was joined at the afternoon event by First Lady Melania Trump, who spoke before him about the effects of the opioid crisis on children. "And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do", 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 ..."

"My experience has been that when we have been at the White House or members of the administration have been in public, they have given lip service to the importance of the opioid epidemic", she said.

When young people see the commercials, they'll say "I don't want any part of it", the president said.

Trump also said the plan would crack down on global and domestic illicit drug supply chains.

While invoking familiar campaign themes - such as deporting people who've immigrated illegally and building a wall along the Mexican border - Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers and hinted at a potential federal lawsuit against opioid-producing drug companies.

Trump's plan would also expand treatment, though how this portion of the proposal will be funded by the administration remains has yet to be determined.

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In a statement, Shaheen said it is her hope that "today's announcement means the Trump administration is going to finally prioritize the opioid crisis that continues to devastate families all across New Hampshire".

Death for drug traffickers and mandatory minimum penalties for distributing certain opioids are just two elements under the part of Trump's plan that deals with law enforcement and interdiction to break the worldwide and domestic flow of drugs into and across the U.S. "No more 'let's have everyone go to a blue ribbon committee and get a medal.' This is about a very tough problem".

The White House did not offer any specific examples of when it would be appropriate to seek the death penalty for drug dealers and referred further questions to the Justice Department. Some legal scholars have said the issue may need to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump previously praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war on drugs has led to the extra-judicial killings of alleged traffickers.

Some 2.4 million Americans are estimated to be addicted to opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers and heroin.

Last October, Trump declared the crisis a national public health emergency, short of the national state of emergency sought by a presidential commission he put together. "This is no longer somebody else's community, somebody else's kid, somebody else's co-worker". He captured his first Republican presidential primary here in 2016, though he narrowly lost in the general election to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Gov. Chris Sununu, who was in the audience for Monday's speech, has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Other new policy goals include cutting overall opioid prescriptions by one-third over the next three years and urging Congress to get rid of an old law prohibiting Medicaid from paying for care at some treatment facilities. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a persistent Trump critic.

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