Favorite to Be Trump’s Drug Czar Withdraws Name from Consideration

By NTK Staff | 10.17.2017 @12:00pm
Favorite to Be Trump’s Drug Czar Withdraws Name from Consideration

The Pennsylvania congressman cited a “critical illness” in his family.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) officially withdrew his name from consideration to become President Trump’s so-called drug czar, a role that would largely focus on the opioid epidemic that has gripped the U.S. for the past several years.

Rumored to be the preferred candidate for the job, Marino was never officially nominated by Trump. In a statement, Marino cited a “critical illness in my family” as the reason for turning down the post. The Allentown Morning Call noted that Marino’s mother “has serious heart problems.”

But a joint report by The Washington Post and CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” which aired on Sunday, may have had something to do with Marino’s decision. The report indicated a bill sponsored by Marino made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to fight the opioid crisis and even “helped pump more painkillers into parts of the country that were already in the middle of the opioid crisis.”

Marino was a main backer of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act; among other things, the bill changed the standard for identifying dangers to local communities, from “imminent” threats to “immediate” threats. That change cramped the DEA’s authority to go after drug companies that didn’t report suspicious — and often very large — orders for narcotics.

After the Post and 60 Minutes reports on the bill emerged, several members of Congress called for the White House to pull Marino’s nomination as drug czar.

Marino’s bill was opposed by the DEA and supported by drug companies.

Despite turning down the drug czar role, Marino pledged to remain in his post in Congress.

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