The Trump administration is gearing up to unveil a plan it says will solve the country's opioid crisis. The plan, expected to be announced later this month, has sparked some controversy for its call to sentence drug dealers in some cases with the death penalty, Politico reports.
The Trump administration's plan devises a mix of strategies to tackle the crisis, including prevention and treatment measures, as well as "beefed-up enforcement in line with the president's frequent calls for a harsh crackdown on drug traffickers and dealers," according to Politico.
The plan's law enforcement strategies have been met with skepticism by some lawmakers, according to Politico. "We are still paying the costs for one failed 'war on drugs,' and now President Donald Trump is drawing up battle plans for another," Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) told Politico. "We will not incarcerate or execute our way out of the opioid epidemic." Many public-health advocates and other congressional members believe the epidemic should be treated as a disease. They express concern that the plan's focus on ramping up prosecution and punishment will take away from prevention and treatment measures.
Trump declared the opioid crisis a public-health emergency back in October. After receiving criticism for moving too slowly in developing a plan and offering solutions to the nationwide epidemic, the White House plans to release its most concrete proposal yet. However, the plan could easily cost billions more than what's allocated in the budget, making it unlikely that Congress will approve the funding necessary to roll out the plan, Politico reports.
"I mean, I get the message he's delivering: We've got to treat it seriously," Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) told Politico. "I don't see that that's going to solve the problem."