The Wall Street Journal: Trump to announce new anti-opioid plan, including death penalty for traffickers

President Donald Trump on Monday will call for new steps to combat the opioid epidemic, including a push to reduce opioid prescriptions by a third over three years, asking the Justice Department to seek more death-penalty cases against drug traffickers under current law, and for federal support to expand the availability of overdose-reversal medication.

The proposals will come in a speech in the hard-hit state of New Hampshire. They form part of a broader blueprint by Trump, which senior White House officials on Sunday described as seeking to deploy education, law enforcement and treatment to try to reverse abuse of particularly addictive drugs that claim the lives of more than 100 people a day in the U.S.

Other elements of the strategy, the White House said, would include a fresh public-awareness campaign about drug abuse, a research-and-development partnership between the National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical companies into opioid prescription alternatives, tougher sentences for fentanyl traffickers, and screening of all prison inmates for opioid addiction.

But it is the death penalty proposal that is likely to dominate discussion of the package.

“The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it’s appropriate under current law,” said Andrew Bremberg, the president’s top domestic-policy adviser. Senior White House officials referred specific questions about the death-penalty stance to the Justice Department but emphasized that the administration was seeking to use current law rather than call for a new federal statute.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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