Donald Trump has some things in common with President Rodrigo Duterte, the blustery strongman president of the Philippines who has overseen the extrajudicial slaughter of thousands of his people.
“According to five sources who’ve spoken with Trump about the subject, he often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty,” Axios reports. “Trump tells confidants a softer approach to drug reform—the kind where you show sympathy to the offenders and give them more lenient sentences—will never work.”
The report says that Trump “has said he would love to have a law to execute all drug dealers here in America, though he’s privately admitted it would probably be impossible to get a law this harsh passed under the American system.”
It’s already theoretically possible. Currently, 20 states have laws which which allow drug dealers to be charged with first-degree murder in the event of a a fatal overdose on their product. Some of those states also have the death penalty.
A study on the subject of charges for overdose deaths by the Drug Police Alliance found that such laws were counterproductive as they typically ensnared friends or family instead of dealers and that such laws tended to make users less likely to report overdoses so that the victims could be saved.
“Elected officials unfamiliar with, or resistant to, harm reduction, prevention, and treatment interventions are introducing punitive, counterproductive legislative measures in a misguided effort to reduce overdose fatalities,” the report reads. “Though their rhetoric may be compassionate, their policies are anything but. They are adopting a law and order approach to solve a public health crisis, with devastating consequences.”