September 6, 2017

Trump nominates Rep. Marino as nation's drug czar

Daily Briefing

    President Trump on Tuesday officially nominated Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) as the nation's so-called "drug czar."

    If confirmed by the Senate, Marino will serve as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which develops the presidential administration's drug control policies. The ONDCP director "serves as the principal adviser to the president on drug control issues," according to the White House.

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    According to CNN, Marino's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Background

    Marino served as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania under former President George W. Bush. He was elected to Congress in 2010, where he has worked to expand access to treatment for individuals with opioid-related substance use disorders, the Associated Press reports.

    According to STAT News, Marino during a House hearing last year said he supports "placing non-dealer, non-violent drug" misusers who plead guilty to drug possession charges "in a secured hospital-type setting under the constant care of health professionals." Marino said criminal charges against such individuals should be dropped if they complete a treatment program. "The charges are only filed to have an incentive for that person to enter the hospital-slash-prison, if you want to call it," he said.

    According to the AP, Marino in 2016 also sponsored a law that critics have said makes it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Administration to pursue drugmakers that ignore evidence that their drugs are being diverted for illicit use (AP/Washington Post, 9/1; White House website, accessed 9/5; White House announcement, 9/2; Hansler, CNN, 9/2; Facher, STAT News, 9/2; Lima, Politico, 9/1).

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