Donald Trump has been causing controversy again. Ahhh, how many times are we going to type that sentence before the year is up? This time though, it's nothing to do with him sleeping with a porn star, or eating a McDonald's every day, nor is it even anything to do with his plan to arm teachers with guns. No, this time it's about the hard-line approach he's about to take towards drug dealers. And when we say hard-line, we really mean it.
According to a report published on Thursday by Politico, who specialize in American political journalism, part of the President's new plan to combat America's raging opioid epidemic will be giving the death penalty to some convicted drug dealers. He will also seek tougher punishments for those that are, y'know, allowed to continue living.
The plans, which are set to be officially revealed this week, will also include measures to stem access to opiate-based painkillers, which are considered to be responsible for causing the crisis in the first place. From the late 1990s, a sharp jump in the number of such painkillers being prescribed led to an increasing number of people reporting addictions, with more and more turning to street heroin and the fentanyl - which is 100 times more potent - in an attempt to get their fix.
It's not the first time that Trump has raised the idea, commenting in a speech on March 1 that he believed that countries with "the ultimate punishment" tended to "have much less of a drug problem than we do. So we’re going to have to be very strong on penalties.”
Unsurprisingly, the news of the proposals has divided opinions. Many of his more right-wing leaning supporters have expressed their support for the plan, taking to Twitter to air their beliefs that it might help solve the crisis:
But while the plans may win the support of some of Trump's more hardcore fans, he may still find that he has trouble getting his plot up and running. The move is likely to meet with resistance in Congress, with some politicians already speaking out against the plans: "We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic”, said Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, in a statement. Even Lou Barletta, a Trump loyalist, stopped short of advocating for the death penalty when asked about the plans, simply saying that there should be "severe penalties" for those who deal drugs.
Ironically, the drug industry will probably be more than a little cautious too, considering many pharmaceutical firms now legally object to their creations being used to carry out the death penalty. The move is also likely to meet with resistance from the wider public, especially following a recent bodged execution. Already, it is being ridiculed by some on Twitter:
Whether it's safe-rooms, better support for addicts or the death penalty that's going to help America out of this situation, it's true that something desperately needs to be done about it. The epidemic now kills 115 people every day, and in the last two years has killed more American than died in the whole of the Vietnam War. But is killing drug dealers really the answer to an issue caused by the medical industry? Probably not.