The next day, a story buried in the same paper reported that drug overdose deaths have increased by 33% over the last five years, according to the CDC. A more thorough story on this issue was written by Michael Casey of CNS news. A 2015 report by the Urban Institute found that 99% of drug offenders in federal prison were convicted of trafficking. Anyone familiar with criminal trials understands that virtually all of the dealers got a plea bargain.
In California, as a result of Proposition 47, which converted felony drug possession to a misdemeanor, drug arrests are down dramatically. Under the state's Realignment law, most drug dealers do not go to prison anymore and users, if police even bother to arrest them, are cited and punished with a few hours in a local jail as reported in the Desert Sun.
There has been much debate on this blog regarding whether drug dealers should be considered violent criminals. Assessing the hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed by the illegal drugs they sell, I would say yes. Mr. Rhee and others who think like him would likely disagree, as I am sure that they would be quick to deny any connection between the mass release of federal and state drug dealers and the increase in overdose deaths.