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White House: Death Penalty Will Be Part of Opioid Response

But trafficking in fentanyl won't be a capital crime
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2018 5:10 AM CDT
White House Rolls Back Talk of Executing Dealers
A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(Newser) – The White House has rolled out the "more nuanced" response to the opioid crisis it promised after President Trump talked about executing drug dealers earlier this month. The revised plan White House officials discussed Sunday still involves the death penalty, but officials say they don't plan to make trafficking in fentanyl a capital crime, let alone launch a Rodrigo Duterte-style bloodbath. Instead, the administration says it will seek capital punishment for drug traffickers where appropriate under existing federal law, the Washington Post reports. Federal law allows the death penalty in four kinds of drug-related crime, all of which also involve murder, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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Andrew Bremberg, Trump's domestic policy director, says the president also wants Congress to pass legislation lowering the minimum amount of fentanyl and other strong opioids needed to trigger mandatory sentences for dealers, the AP reports. The administration says it also has a plan to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third by 2021. "The opioid crisis is viewed by us at the White House as a nonpartisan problem searching for bipartisan solutions," adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters, per Politico. Trump is expected to discuss the plan on a Monday visit to New Hampshire, one of the states hardest-hit by the crisis that he has declared a national public health emergency. (Read more opioids stories.)

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