US President Donald Trump has again called for the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that so far has gained little support.
It came as he unveiled an anti-opioid abuse plan, which included his death penalty recommendation, new funding for other initiatives and stiffer sentencing laws for drug dealers.
He said the United States must “get tough” on fighting opioid abuse. “And that toughness includes the death penalty,” he said.
He added that he was working with Congress to funnel $6 billion in new funding in 2018 and 2019 to help fight the opioid crisis.
Addiction to opioids – mainly prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl – is a growing problem, especially in rural areas of the US.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016.
The new plan will seek to cut opioid prescriptions by a third over the next three years by changing federal healthcare programs, White House officials said.
Mr Trump also said the plan would crack down on international and domestic illicit drug supply chains.
Part of that would include requiring electronic data for 90 per cent of international mail shipments with goods, he said.
He said the United States would “engage with China and expand cooperation with Mexico to reduce supplies of heroin, other illicit opioids, and precursor chemicals.”
The Justice Department will target negligent physicians and pharmacies, he said, adding that he was considering litigation against drug companies implicated in the opioid crisis.