Marino withdraws nomination for drug czar

Marino withdraws nomination for drug czar

Published
Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.,) left, shown with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan in a 2017 photo, has been a member of Congress since 2011. (Speaker.gov)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) has withdrawn from consideration as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. a position generally referred to as “drug czar, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The withdrawal comes amid reports from the Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Marino authored a law backed by the pharmaceutical companies that halted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from cracking down on shipments to questionable pharmacies and doctors.

Former DEA official Joe Rannazzisi told” 60 Minutes” that the law, spearheaded by Marino, effectively opened the floodgates for the illegal distribution of opioids.

Trump  who has described the epidemic surrounding addiction to opioids as a “national emergency” — said during a Monday news  conference that the administration would look into Marino’s nomination following the reports.

“He’s a good man. I have not spoken to him, but I will speak to him and I’ll make that determination,” Trump said. “If I think it’s one percent negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change, yes.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose state has been particularly hard hit by opioid addiction, asked the Trump administration to drop Marino on Monday.

Marino’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Democrats applauded Tuesday’s announcement.

“The opioid crisis demands that the next drug czar is solely focused on getting communities across the country the help they desperately need,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “I hope the Trump administration nominates someone that fits that bill.”

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