Local drug abuse treatment center reacts to Trump's death penalty plan

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)-President Donald Trump rolled out a new policy this week aimed at fixing the country's drug epidemic.  The plan focuses on stricter law enforcement, prevention and education, and improving the federal government's ability to fund substance abuse treatment.

But another part of the plan, one of the most controversial, calls for the death penalty for high volume drug dealers.  
  
That's something the head of Lawton's Roadback Incorporated, Nivian Rozumialski, of a local substance abuse treatment center said was shocking to hear.

"We've had drug dealers that have come through our program and everything," said Rozumialski. "A lot of them that's all they know how to do in life. That's all they've learned and that's the only way they know how to make money and survive basically."

Rozumialski said President Trump's outlined plan to combat the opioid crisis is unusual.

At Roadback, she said she and her staff focus on helping those with addictions lead a healthier lifestyle.

"We are treatment and people need treatment," said Rozumialski. "Not always needing to go to prison."

In an effort to combat prison overcrowding, Governor Mary Fallin signed into law four criminal justice reform bills last year.

Including one for prosecutors to file a misdemeanor charge for drug offenses which would ordinarily be charged as felonies.

Rozumialski said many people including herself voted with the intention that funds for treatment would also be incorporated in the new laws.

"We incarcerate people the most and if we can send some of those people and divert them to different rehabilitation centers why not," said Rozumialski. "Especially nonviolent drug offenders."

Typically Roadback has a wait list of 900 people each day in need of care.

However, Rozumialski said that does not change her thoughts about punishments for those that are dealing drugs, but when it comes to those that are abusing a substance the punishment should depend on the drug being used.

"We now have people that have possession of heroin that get the same as somebody that has possession of marijuana and that's concerning because it's not the same," said Rozumialski.

Along with that she said one question remains---will legislators also attack those that prescribe the drugs next?

"Because it's not just the high-end opioid drug dealers either it's where are they getting it from," said Rozumialski. "Are we going to target that? Are we going to target the high prescribers? There's a lot of questions on my mind with it because it's not just one group of people we have to target."

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