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President Donald Trump stands alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

On Monday in New Hampshire, President Donald Trump will present his blueprint to combat the opioid epidemic, which includes a mandate for the Justice Department to allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for some drug dealers, senior administration officials said on Sunday.

The details: A top administration official told reporters during a background call that law enforcement "is a key part of the holistic approach to combat" the "surge" in opioid addiction, and the DOJ would seek the penalty for some drug dealers "as appropriate under current law." But they declined to say under what circumstances it would be deemed appropriate. The DOJ didn't immediately respond to Axios' request for comment on the issue.

The backdrop: This will be Trump's first visit to the state — hit hard by the opioid epidemic — since his 2016 campaign. On the campaign trail, Trump had promised to alleviate the scourge of drug abuse and addiction that has swept the country, a pledge that helped propel him to a crucial victory in the Republican primary there two years ago.

The plan's focus areas: Law enforcement and interdiction, a prevention and educational advertising campaign, improving access to treatment programs and helping those impacted by the epidemic find jobs while fighting addiction.

  • Officials said the plan will detail the measures the administration will take and legislative actions on which they want Congress to act.

Some specifics:

  • Work with coastal services and shipment services to set up screening technologies to detect illicit substances that are being shipped into the country.
  • Support research and development efforts for technologies and additional therapies designed to prevent addiction and decrease the use of opioids in pain management.
  • Reduce demand and the overprescription of opioids.
  • Allocate funds for initiatives related to opioids to help states transition to a nationally interoperable Prescription Drug Monitoring Program network.
  • Increase support for state and local drug courts to provide offenders with access to treatment "as an alternative to or in conjunction with incarceration, or as a condition of supervised release."
  • Urge Congress to pass legislation that tightens sentencing penalties for drug dealers trafficking certain illicit opioids.
  • Impose appropriate criminal and civil actions to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for any unlawful actions, and also screen federal inmates with opioid addiction and connect them to treatment services.

The timeline: The White House's plan will be shared in the coming weeks and months, officials said. They noted that some proposals are already underway by utilizing existing fundings and that they're negotiating with lawmakers to allocate new funds.

Go deeper

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

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