The Washington Post / The Associated Press – In Appalachian states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, the tough-on-crime policy announced Friday by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions runs counter to a recent emphasis on treatment and less prison time for low-level drug offenders.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul strongly opposed the Department of Justice directive, which reverses an Obama-era policy that prescribed leniency for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders.
“We should treat our nation’s drug epidemic as a health crisis and less as a ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key’ problem,” Paul said in a statement released shortly after Session’s announcement.
Sessions argued that a spike in violence in some big cities and the nation’s opioid epidemic call for a return to harsher prison sentences. The memo announced Friday would urge U.S. attorneys to charge steeper crimes that would trigger long mandatory prison sentences, including for drug offenders.
Read more at The Washington Post.