The Trump Administration is considering allowing prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers, The Washington Post reports.
One approach under consideration would make trafficking large amounts of fentanyl a capital crime. Officials are also studying tougher punishments for large-scale drug dealers that stop short of the death penalty.
At the recent White House summit on opioids, President Trump suggested executing drug dealers might help solve the opioid crisis. “Some countries have a very tough penalty, the ultimate penalty, and they have much less of a drug problem than we do,” Trump said during the summit.
Allowing the death penalty for drug dealers could have unintended effects, said Daniel Ciccarone, Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. “It will keep people from any positive interface with police, any positive interface with public health, any interface with doctors,” he said, adding it could lead to fewer people receiving treatment for their addictions. “People will become afraid and hide. They won’t trust the police, and they won’t trust the doctor either.”