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Will drug trafficking penalties get even harsher?

Texas is known far and wide for its tough stance on crime. For instance, we have some of the nation's harshest penalties for those convicted of drug possession, manufacturing and distribution.

If a new proposal from President Trump becomes law, those strict measures will include the ultimate punishment for certain drug crimes: the death penalty.

The death penalty would apply to certain drug traffickers who are engaged in the distribution of opioids, East Texas news outlets are reporting. Opioids are typically prescribed for pain relief, but have the powerful medications have become popular on the black market. The drugs are especially popular in rural and working-class communities.

Trump announced the new proposal in a speech in New Hampshire, a state struggling with an increasing trade in opioids. He also called for expanding education and awareness of the dangerous of drug addiction, as well as an expansion of opioid treatment programs.

But the Associated Press states "the backbone of his plan is to toughen punishments for those caught trafficking highly addictive drugs."

Trump said "other countries don't play games" and that he wants the death penalty available for certain drug dealers.

The Justice Department stated that the federal death penalty is already available in "drug kingpin" cases. Critics of the new proposal say that "kingpin" provision has yielded few major dealers, but is instead used against low- and mid-level traffickers.

Senator Dick Durbin said, “We can’t arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic” and pointed out that the so-called war on drugs failed back in the 1980s.

We don't know if Trump's plan will be adopted or not, but we do know that in Texas, harsh punishments are already a common occurrence following drug crime convictions. Contact an attorney experienced in drug defense to discuss your legal options.

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