Donald Trump praised China for its policy of executing drug dealers in a speech at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta 24th April.
The President discussed China's plans to upgrade the criminal status of fentanyl, noting Beijing planned to make possession and distribution of the drug "a major crime", and praising the "ultimate price" pushers would pay for breaking the law.
"It's not a crime now. It's down as an industrial drug, and they're gonna make it a crime. They're going to charge people with the highest level of crime, and in China, unlike in our country, the highest level of crime is very, very high. It's the ultimate. You pay the ultimate price. So I appreciate that very much," Trump said.
The President also cast doubt on official estimations of opioid-related deaths in the US.
Today, @FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to join thousands of leaders from across the Country for the 2019 Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit (@RxSummit) in Atlanta, Georgia! #RxSummit2019https://t.co/LfkFisfN22— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
"Each year, more than 70,000 precious American lives are lost to the opioid and drug crisis. In my opinion, the number is much higher than that," he said.
The President's wife Melania was also present at the event, and discussed her work with children whose lives have been affected by America's opioid crisis. An estimated two million US citizens are addicted to such substances, including both legal prescription pain medications and illegal drugs such as heroin. The Trump administration has committed US$6 billion to combatting the problem, and increased the distribution of overdose-reversing drug naloxone.
Melania Trump is out here touting her work sending *video messages* to summer camps for kids. Not actually going to them, mind you, but sending video messages. pic.twitter.com/xNx72JJRBO— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 24, 2019
In 2017, China was one of four countries to execute people for drug offences, along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. A further 10 countries issued death sentences for such crimes.