Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Melania Trump lends her support to Americans battling opioid crisis

Melania Trump lends her support to Americans battling opioid crisis

Exhausted of "talking and doing nothing", President Trump said Monday the USA should adopt a zero-tolerance approach to opioids that includes execution of some drug dealers, vowing it would crush the problem fast.

"Some of these drug dealers will kill thousands of people during their lifetimes", Trump said Monday at a community college in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Donald Trump repeated a vow to build the southern border wall Monday to "keep the damn drugs out" of America.

But New Hampshire residents and politicians say the president's plan to address the epidemic is not enough.

The New York businessman campaigned in New Hampshire the night before the 2016 presidential election, but Trump narrowly lost the state on Election Day, with Hillary Clinton beating him by fewer than 3,000 votes.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made the opioid crisis a focus and won New Hampshire in the primary against 16 other Republicans.

One element of the plan includes applying the federal death penalty to drug traffickers where applicable under current law. We can not jail or kill our way out of this crisis-we need to increase access to evidence-based treatment and recovery services.

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Mrs. Trump spoke about her visits to hospitals and clinics that help children who were born addicted to opioids.

Earlier, President Donald Trump dropped in on New Hampshire firefighters before he gave his speech about the nation's opioid drug crisis.

Republican hailed Mr. Trump's speech as a step forward, while Democrats reacted with guarded optimism, saying the president seems to be getting serious about the epidemic but should put treatment ahead of extra-punitive measures.

Therefore, he said establishing harsher penalties for a drug trafficker - who does not even believe he/she will be caught in the first place - does not help solve the problem.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that more than 64,000 people in the United States died previous year of drug overdoses. However, in November, the White House opioid commission also released a strong plan, most of which hasn't been acted on yet, and it is critical that we see actual follow-through on this proposal. The most recent event, Trump said, saw the agency collect 900,000 pounds of pharmaceutical products, "more than the weight of three Boeing 757s".

"We need resources, not rhetoric", Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen said in a statement.

"If we don't get very tough on these dealers, it's not going to happen, folks".

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The president has been criticized for touting penal solutions to the opioid crisis rather than emphasizing the public health component.

"That's why my Department of Justice will be seeking so many tougher penalties than we've ever had and we'll be focusing on the penalties that I talked about previously for big pushers, the ones that are killing so many people, and that penalty is going to be the death penalty".

Around 55 percent of Americans are in favor of the death penalty for murder, the lowest levels in decades.

"We call it the crisis next door because everyone knows someone", said Kellyanne Conway, a Trump senior adviser.

The president recalled conversations he has had with unnamed foreign leaders, performing both sides of the dialogue. "These were great kids who had jobs and would have benefited their communities." she said. "The constant message I hear in New Hampshire from law enforcement, treatment providers, the recovery community, and others is that we can not arrest our way out of this crisis".

Bremberg said the administration also has a plan to cut the number of filled opioid prescriptions by one-third within three years. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a persistent Trump critic.

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