Donald Trump on Drugs

2016 Republican incumbent President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


Opposed allowing vets access to legal cannabis

The House Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing on three bills. One bill would allow VA healthcare providers to write state-legal medical cannabis recommendations for veterans who qualify. A separate bill would direct the VA to conduct a clinical study on the risks and benefits of medical marijuana. A third would prevent the VA from stripping veterans of their benefits because they consume state-legal cannabis.

The Trump administration opposed all three.

Not too long ago, veterans could lose their lifelong military benefits if a drug test turned up evidence of cannabis use, no matter how legal. The VA reformed that policy in late 2017--but it's a policy subject to easy change, not a protection codified by law. President Trump opposes codifying it into law.

Source: Bruce Barcott in Leafly.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 2, 2019

FactCheck: Wall wouldn't affect drugs coming from Mexico

CLAIM: Trump cited the need for a border wall in the State of the Union, claiming that 'tens of thousands' of Americans are killed by drugs coming across the Mexican border.

FACT-CHECK: It's correct that lethal drugs do come across the border, and drug overdose deaths are up: 70,237 people died from an overdose in 2017. But Trump--in pushing for a border wall--tends to ignore that the vast majority of hard drugs from Mexican cartels come into the U.S. through legal ports of entry, which wouldn't be affected by a wall.

According to the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, "The most common method employed by these [Mexican drug cartels] involves transporting illicit drugs through US POEs (legal port-of-entry crossing points) in passenger vehicles with concealed compartments or commingled with legitimate goods on tractor trailers." The Trump administration knows this: the DHS Secretary said in April 2017 that illegal drug traffic "mostly comes through the ports of entry."

Source: NBC News Fact-Check on 2019 State of the Union address , Feb 6, 2019

MS-13 gangs in 20 states smuggle in meth & opioids

Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities--including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.

The savage gang, MS-13, now operates in 20 different American States, and they almost all come through our southern border. Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting in NYC. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border they're going to keep streaming back in.

Source: 2019 State of the Union address to United States Congress , Feb 5, 2019

Melania's "Be Best": focus on well-being & opioid abuse

Melania Trump revealed a new platform for tackling multiple issues relevant to American children. "I am very excited to announce Be Best, an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us--our children," Trump said. "There is one goal to Be Best--and that is to educate children about the many issues they are facing today."

Trump said Be Best would have three main areas of focus: well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. "Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and encourage them to Be Best in their individual paths in life," Trump said.

Saying she first learned about "the real consequences of our nation's opioid epidemic" during her husband's White House bid, Trump told the crowd she intends to "work with those who are fighting drug addiction."

President Trump was on-hand for the initiative's launch. As his wife looked on, Trump signed a "Be Best" proclamation, declaring Monday as "Be Best Day."

Source: Forbes Magazine on 2018 Trump Administration , May 7, 2018

Execute drug dealers to fight opioid epidemic

Pres. Trump spelled out in new detail several steps he favors to fight an epidemic of opioid abuse, including the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that has gained little support from drug abuse and judicial experts.

Trump unveiled an anti-opioid abuse plan, including his death penalty recommendation, new funding for other initiatives and stiffer sentencing laws for drug dealers. He said the US must "get tough" on opioids. "And that toughness includes the death penalty," he said. Neither Trump nor the White House gave further details as to when it would be appropriate to seek the death penalty.

Trump said that he was working with Congress to find $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid crisis. The plan will also seek to cut opioid prescriptions by a third over 3 years by changing federal programs, he said.

Addiction to opioids--mainly prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl--is a growing problem, especially in rural areas. 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016.

Source: Reuters in The Metro on 2018 Trump Administration , Mar 19, 2018

Death penalty for drug dealers

Q: At a rally last night, the president made the case for the death penalty for drug dealers. Let's listen to this.

(VIDEO CLIP): TRUMP: When I was in China and other places, I said, "Mr. President, do you have a drug problem?" "No, no, no, we do not." I said, "huh, big country, 1.4 billion people, right? Not much a drug problem." I said, "What do you attribute that to?" "Well, the death penalty." So, honestly, I don't know that the United States, frankly, is ready for it. They should be ready for it.

(END VIDEO) Q: Now, the death penalty for drug dealers, is that something that you agree with? And should we be following China's lead when it comes to criminal justice?

Sen. Ron JOHNSON (R-WI): I would say we probably should not be following China's lead when it comes to criminal justice. I'm a supporter of the death penalty, but only where we absolutely are 100% certain that the person is 100% guilty. I'm not sure it would be applicable to drug offenses.

Source: CNN 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Mar 11, 2018

Tougher on drug dealers to end scourge of opioids

[My border security] reforms will support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction. In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.

My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult--but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.

Source: 2018 State of the Union address , Jan 30, 2018

2016: let states decide on pot; 2018: feds over state law

While on the campaign trail, President Trump was asked his view on state marijuana policy reform, and he consistently said it should be a states' rights decision.

29 states have enacted effective medical marijuana laws. Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in 8 states.

[But Trump's] Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Department of Justice policy that directed federal law enforcement not to target individuals or businesses that are in compliance with state law.

From August 2013 until yesterday, the Department of Justice policy had been not to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals or businesses in states that are complying with state medical or adult-use marijuana laws, provided that one of eight federal priorities is not implicated.

Source: MPP.org on 2018 Trump Administration , Jan 4, 2018

Stop drugs pouring into country & poisoning our youth

We've defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross--and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. [Now], our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately, stop. And our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.

To protect our citizens, I have directed the Department of Justice to form a Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime. I have further ordered the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, along with the Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate an aggressive strategy to dismantle the criminal cartels that have spread across our Nation. We will stop the drugs from pouring into our country and

Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 28, 2017

Apply resources to stop the inflow of opioids into America

Q: How would your administration address the growing opioid problem?

TRUMP: We first should stop the inflow of opioids into the United States. We can do that and we will in the Trump administration. As this is a national problem that costs America billions of dollars in productivity, we should apply the resources necessary to mitigate this problem. Dollars invested in taking care of this problem will be more than paid for with recovered lives and productivity that adds to the wealth and health of the nation.

CLINTON: I have proposed a $10 billion initiative, and laid out a series of goals to help communities across the country. We need to expand the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant and support new federal-state partnerships targeting prevention, treatment, recovery, and other areas of reform. Finally, we must prioritize rehabilitation and treatment over prison for low-level and non-violent offenders.

Source: ScienceDebate.org: 20 questions for 2016 presidential race , Oct 9, 2016

Agrees with Hillary on cautious approach to legalizing pot

Crime and drugs issues clearly illustrate the four differing political viewpoints from the four candidates:On drug issues, Gov. Johnson agrees with Jill Stein with hard-core anti-drug-war and pro-marijuana-legalization stances. Hillary and Trump actually agree on these issues, sharing a cautious take-it-slow approach to legalizing marijuana and winding down the War on Drugs. For hard-core drug warriors, none of these four will do; those voters will have to turn to the Constitution Party this election cycle.
Source: Trump/Clinton/Stein/Johnson On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon , May 15, 2016

Brother died of alcoholism; so Donald never touched alcohol

For Mr. Trump, a presidential candidate whose appeal is predicated on an aura of toughness, personal achievement and perpetual success, the story of his brother Freddy, a handsome, gregarious and self-destructive figure who died as an alcoholic in 1981 at the age of 43, is bleak and seldom told.

In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Trump said he had learned by watching his brother how bad choices could drag down even those who seemed destined to rise. Seeing his brother suffering led him to avoid ever trying alcohol or cigarettes, he said.

In the upwardly mobile Trump family, Donald was the second and favorite son. Freddy was the disappointment, who lacked the killer instinct and drifted so far from his father's ambitions that his children were largely cut out of the patriarch's will.

Asked whether Freddy's experience in the family business, which friends described as miserable, contributed to the drinking that ultimately killed him, Mr. Trump said: "I hope not. I hope not."

Source: N.Y. Times coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 3, 2016

Study legalization, but don't legalize now

Q: A lot of talk about addiction on the campaign trail lately, especially up in New Hampshire. You used to think that legalization, taking the profit out, would solve that problem. What changed your mind?

TRUMP: Well, I did not think about it, I said it's something that should be studied and maybe should continue to be studied. But it's not something I'd be willing to do right now. I think it's something that I've always said maybe it has to be looked at because we do such a poor job of policing. We don't want to build walls. We don't want to do anything. And if you're not going to want to do the policing, you're going to have to start thinking about other alternatives. But it's not something that I would want to do.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Nov 8, 2015

Yes to medical marijuana; otherwise, decide state by state

In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. And of course you have Colorado. There's a question as to how it's all working out there, you know? That's not going exactly trouble-free.
Source: Washington Post 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 29, 2015

1990: Drug enforcement is a joke; 2015: only medical pot

The GOP front-runner's position has changed over the years. In 1990, he was quoted in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune as saying that US drug enforcement efforts were "a joke" and that drugs should be legalized to "take the profit away from these drug czars." Fast-forward 25 years and now Trump is opposed to legalization. "I say it's bad," he told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in June, in response to a question about Colorado's legal weed. "Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think [recreational marijuana] it's bad. And I feel strongly about that." But what about states' rights? "If they vote for it, they vote for it. But they've got a lot of problems going on right now, in Colorado. Some big problems. But I think medical marijuana, 100 percent."
Source: Mother Jones 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 28, 2015

1991: Illicit drugs should be decriminalized

[In 1991], Trump traveled to Capitol Hill to tell a congressional committee that he thought they should raise taxes on the rich. Reagan tax cuts should be abandoned, he said; a top rate of 50% or 60% would be better for the country.

Coupled with a previous statement suggesting that illicit drugs should be decriminalized, Trump's tax comments placed him left of center on the political spectrum, but they gained him little press coverage.

Source: Never Enough, by Michael D'Antonio, p. 222 , Sep 22, 2015

Legalize drugs and use tax revenue to fund drug education

Trump argued in 1990 that the only way to win the War on Drugs was to legalize drugs and use the tax revenue to fund drug education programs. As he put it, "You have to take the profit away from these drug czars." In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he stated that he'd never tried drugs "of any kind."
Source: Tim Murphy in Mother Jones magazine , Apr 20, 2011

Never drinks, smokes, nor does drugs

Donald Trump's Brother's Death and How it Affected His Life: He has had some hard life lessons like when his brother died from extreme alcoholism. He told Donald Trump repeatedly not to drink or smoke. Trump lived by those words because his brother had taught him so much, and he had looked up to him. To this day, he has never drank alcohol, smoked or done drugs. Perhaps, that is what makes Donald Trump who he is, unwavering discipline.
Source: Piers Morgan interview by Georgina Bourdeau , Feb 9, 2011

Gave second chance to Miss USA who got caught with drugs

Recently, Miss USA, Tara Conner, broke pageant rules by using drugs and alcohol in excess publicly in New York City. I do not tolerate or condone that kind of out-of-control behavior in someone representing Miss USA. I do believe in giving second chances

I set up a meeting with her, and I had every intention of stripping her of her title. After talking to her, I realized the right thing to do in her case was to pardon her and give her a second chance. As you may know, this decision caused a media frenzy.

Tara is willing to learn from her mistake and not let it happen again. I decided it was better to give her a second chance than to destroy her career and ruin her chances in life. She finished her reign and continues to support the goals of Miss USA completely.

She agreed to go to rehab and is now doing fine. She thanked me for "saving her life."

Source: Think Big, by Donald Trump, p.162-3 & 187 , Sep 8, 2008

Never touched drugs, nor alcohol, tobacco, or coffee

Iíve never taken drugs of any kind, never had a glass of alcohol. Never had a cigarette, never had a cup of coffee.
Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p. 24-25 , Jul 2, 2000

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Page last updated: Jan 03, 2022