Sheriff Jones: Death Penalty For Drug Dealers 'Might Not be a Bad Idea'
In the past week, President Donald Trump has proposed combating the opioid epidemic by giving drug dealers the death penalty.
"You kill one person, you get the death penalty in many states," he said. "You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you are 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."
While the president's hard stance on tackling the opioid epidemic raised eyebrows, it does have some support in East Tennessee.
"When you first hear that, it seems like it may be a little strong," said Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "JJ" Jones.
"When you go back and do the research and see how many people's lives that they've affected, and how many lives they've ruined and how many families they've broken up, the death penalty might not be a bad idea for some of these individuals."
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen has created an overdose death task force to trace overdoses back up the chain to the dealer who sold the drugs, ultimately charging them for murder.
"In our county if we have determined that you are a dealer, we have decided to come after you with everything we have," Allen said. "We try to specifically charge drug dealers with second-degree homicide on cases where anybody that receives any of their drugs and ODs from their drugs will be prosecuted for murder."
With so many people dying from suspected overdoses every day, the goal is to send a message to those supplying deadly drugs.
"We're trying to send a message that we don't want you to bring your drugs to our community," Allen said.
The Trump administration is finalizing its long awaited opioid plan. That is expected to be announced some time in the next couple of weeks.