USA: ATTORNEY GENERAL TELLS PROSECUTORS TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY IN DRUG CASES
March 21, 2018:
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed federal prosecutors on Wednesday to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases whenever it is legally permissible, saying the Justice Department must ramp up its efforts in the wake of the opioid epidemic. (Source: Reuters, 21/03/2018)
Sessions' controversial mandate to prosecutors comes on the heels of a plan announced by President Donald Trump earlier this week, which called for executing opioid dealers and traffickers. "In the face of all of this death, we cannot continue with business as usual," Sessions said in a statement. Trump announced the plan to seek the death penalty against some drug offenders during a stop at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire on March 19.
Such punishment, the president offered, is needed if the United States wants to get serious about reducing the number of opioid-related deaths.
Opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, killed more than 42,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, more than any other year on record, and remains the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.