Under current United States President Donald Trump’s administration, high-level drug dealers are slated to face the death penalty, given the Department of Justice can justify such penalties. If enacted, the United States of America will become a member of the global minority of governments that support the death penalty for drug crimes. Most nations don’t even support the death penalty for any offense.
First, to best understand what Donald Trump is proposing, we should explain the barebones basics of the opioid epidemic.
Every person in the United States of America has been affected by the opioid epidemic. But what exactly is the opioid epidemic?
The Opioid Epidemic Explained
Before the brief explanation starts, we should know that, in 1805, the opioid morphine was derived from the poppy plant. Some decades later, Americans became hooked on morphine. In 1898, Bayer Pharmaceuticals – yes, that Bayer – invented heroin, billed as non-addictive, though still carrying the same painkilling properties as morphine.
Replacing one opioid with another turned out to be a disastrous failure. Both drugs were made illegal in the 1920s in the United States, though only morphine was adopted by the medical community and the U.S. government.
In the 1990s, a company named Purdue Pharma came out with a supposedly “non-addictive,” extended-release version of oxycodone, a drug invented in 1917. Although its addictive potential was well-known, Purdue – for reasons not detailed herein – managed to make roughly $35 billion of OxyContin through 2018. Many other pharmaceutical companies followed suit, offering opioids of generic and new, “improved,” name-brand opioid painkillers.
Long story short, replacing one opioid with another and billing it as non-addictive doesn’t work. In hopes of stopping the flow of opioids from hitting future generations, doctors were ordered to stop prescribing so many opioid painkillers.
In turn, many opioid users turned to street heroin, which is generally more easily available than prescriptions. Recently, heroin became commonly cut with fentanyl, a much cheaper, far more powerful alternative. Overdoses skyrocketed as a result.
Here’s Why Trump Wants The Death Penalty
U.S. government officials have urged that plans are subject to change, and the death penalty might not be decided on. However, rulings of the controversial death penalty will most likely be reserved for people selling fentanyl, which is most often advertised as heroin, at the highest level of drug trafficking.