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President Trump's opioid crisis plan gets mixed reviews

Legal experts question effectiveness, but victims advocates applaud the message

Fresno, California - President Trump unveiled his plan to fight the national opioid epidemic in a campaign style event in New Hampshire. His proposal includes the death penalty for high volume traffickers.

"If we don't get tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time. Remember that. We are wasting our time and that toughness includes the death penalty," said President Trump. 

At the Fresno offices of "PAIN" Parents and Addicts in Need, founder Flindt Andersen, watches President Trump's speech closely.

"You've had five presidents before him that have brushed this issue under the table and now it's sitting in his lap," said Andersen. 

Thinking about his own struggles with prescription drugs and the impact on his clients Andersen says he agrees with the president's desire to hold drug dealers accountable. 

"I don't have a problem with the death penalty for drug dealers. We see it every day in this office. We see the overdoses. We see the chaos this is causing families," said Andersen.  

Legal expert Attorney Mark King says under current law drug dealers can be sentenced to death, but it never happens. 

"Even if the supreme court were to rule, ok, we can put drug dealers to death now... Do you know how long it takes to put somebody to death? With all the appeals and all the procedural challenges It takes decades and it's very, very expensive," said King. 

President Trump plans to ask congress for $6 Billion for the initiative to help fight the opioid crisis on the front lines. 

"If you break the law and illegally pedal these deadly poisons we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," said President Trump.  

But King says President Trump's tough talk won't scare drug dealers who are making big money off the backs of addicted Americans. 

"So any potential deterrent that people wouldn't want to do this because they would be put to death, well they might get put to death, but 30 years from now and that's not really going to register with anybody," said King. 


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