Prison Fellowship President and CEO James Ackerman criticized President Trump’s recently announced plan to address the opioid crisis in the U.S.
On Monday, the president rolled out a three-part plan to solve the opioid epidemic that included public health programs, an advertising campaign and harsher penalties for some drug dealers. Channeling the “War on Drugs” rhetoric of the ’80s, the president said capital punishment is an appropriate punishment among the harsher penalties he had in mind.
Trump’s plan has garnered severe criticism from public health advocates, crime and epidemic experts, and others. Some have said that the plan is regressive and doesn’t address the root of the opioid problem.
Ackerman has joined the chorus of criticism of the president’s plan saying, “It doesn’t make any sense to me at all, to be perfectly frank.”
From Christian Post:
Ackerman, who worked for years as an entertainment executive and was selected in 2016 to serve as the head of the national evangelical prison ministry founded by Chuck Colson, argued that executing drug dealers would be similar to punishing gun manufacturers for the murders committed by those who buy the guns.
Ackerman’s statement sounds similar to Dr. Andrew Kolodny’s, the co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, who told CNN, “We can’t execute our way out of this epidemic.”
Ohio State professor and pediatric surgeon Jonathan Groner contends that sentencing drug dealers to the death is a “cruel distraction from the opioid crisis.”
“The opioid epidemic claimed 64,000 lives in drug overdoses in 2016 and has killed more than 500,000 people since 2000, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump has declared the epidemic a public health emergency—and public health experts said that’s where the focus should be.”