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Sanford: President’s talk of execution for drug dealers about politics not justice

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leave it to the 45th President to inject political bluster into issues that require well-thought out and productive solutions.

The country is mired in an opiod crisis that is claiming tens of thousands of lives every year including here in Tennessee.

During a combination campaign and policy speech in New Hampshire on Monday, President Donald Trump offered some reasoned approaches to combat the crisis. He voiced support for increasing access to drugs that serve as an antidote to opiod use along with more treatment programs and a stepped up campaign to steer people away from opiods.

But as is his style, the President could not resist a bit of hubris designed to grab headlines and rally his base.  He then called for the death penalty for drug dealers – an idea that got immediate support from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Never mind that neither of them put much thought behind the tough talk.

This kind of rhetoric is reminiscent of the war on drugs in the 1980s that did little to hold drug kingpins and major dealers accountable. Instead it resulted in low and mid-level pushers – mostly African American – going to prison for long stretches.

Yes, the President is right to address the opiod epidemic, but idle talk of executing drug dealers is all about politics not justice.

Commentary provided by Otis Sanford