President Trump on Monday plans to direct the Justice Department to seek the death penalty for opioid traffickers in certain cases and urge Congress to make it easier to impose mandatory minimum sentences on people who sell fentanyl or other drugs that can be deadly in trace amounts.
Mr. Trump will push the get-tough measures as part of a broad strategy to combat opioid abuse, including the start of a nationwide campaign to highlight the dangers of drug abuse and a push to slash the number of prescription opioid fills by one-third within three years.
He will outline the plan Monday in his first presidential visit to New Hampshire, where he won the 2016 Republican primary but lost in the general election to Hillary Clinton by a slim margin.
Mr. Trump declared opioid addiction to be a public health emergency this fall, though advocates have been waiting for him to follow up his tough talk with real action.
The president recently floated the idea of giving certain drug dealers the death penalty, saying the U.S. needs to crack down on traffickers like they do in other countries.
“You kill one person, you get the death penalty in many states or you get life in prison,” Mr. Trump said at a March 10 rally in Pennsylvania. “You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you’re making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail, they don’t do anything. But you might get 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, you might get a year … and then you wonder why we have a problem.