Trump Loses Confidence In Drug Czar Pick Following Bombshell Opioid Revelations

Tom Marino

President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, two days after CBS' 60 Minutes program featured several former employees of the Drug Enforcement Administration saying that the legislation that Marino (R-Pennsylvania) championed a year ago made it all but "impossible" for the government to go after unscrupulous distributors of addictive opioid pills.

'Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. "The [Washington Post report] calls into question Congressman Marino's ability to fill this critical role in a manner that will serve the American people and end the epidemic". "We're going to be doing in next week, OK?" When NBC News asked Trump about it at yesterday's Rose Garden surprise presser, Trump said he was very concerned about the report. The law passed in 2016 after Republican Senator Orrin Hatch negotiated a final version with the DEA, the Post and 60 Minutes said.

President Donald Trump made the announcement Tuesday morning on Twitter.

Experts blame widespread distribution of legal, opioid-based painkillers for the nation's epidemic of opioid-related deaths.

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Trump later said on Fox News Radio that Marino told him he had to "take a pass" as to avoid being seen as having a conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies, CBS News reported.

The Post reported Sunday that Marino and other members of Congress, along with the major drug distributors in the US, prevailed upon the DEA and the Justice Department to agree to an industry-friendly law that undermined efforts to restrict the flow of pain pills that have led to tens of thousands of deaths. The agency reported that the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has also almost quadrupled since 1999, but that there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report. "We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency. It's a problem that we have".

Democrats had called on Trump to withdraw the nomination, and hailed the news, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling Marino's decision the "right decision".

Marino's bill eventually sailed through the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, and was later signed by then-President Barack Obama on April 19, 2016.

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