Rep. Tom Marino withdraws drug czar nomination after opioid controversy

Joseph T. Rannazzisi

On Monday, Trump said he was "looking into" whether Marino's nomination was still viable in the aftermath of the exposé, ahead of what he billed as a "major announcement" on the opioid crisis next week. "At the same time, given my lifelong devotion to law enforcement, I insist on correcting the record regarding the false accusations and unfair reporting to which I have been subjected", Marino said.

Manchin added Marino's sponsorship shows he either does not understand the opioid epidemic's impact or his ties to the drug industry are too great for him to notice trends.

The Post report said the law championed by Marino "makes it virtually impossible" for the DEA to freeze suspect narcotic shipments from drug companies. Here in Pennsylvania we've worked with law enforcement to bolster tools to stop prescription opioids from ending up in the hands of drug dealers and with health professionals to put sensible limits on prescribing to children and in the emergency room. "We're going to be doing in next week, OK?"

The decision comes after the Pennsylvania Republican congressman came under scrutiny in reports claiming he helped move legislation protecting big drug companies. The DEA made such a nuisance of itself in this regard that the pharmaceutical companies responsible for dishing out the pills lobbied Congress to get the DEA off their backs.

Trump tweeted the news Tuesday morning.

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At the time, the opioid crisis had claimed the lives of 200,000 people - more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths during the Vietnam War.

More than 33,000 people died in 2015 from prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump will need to find another choice, preferably one with a track record of tough policies and/or action on opioids. In August, while speaking in a conference room at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, the President promised to "protect innocent citizens from drug dealers that poison our communities".

Trump also announced Monday that he would officially make a national emergency declaration to fight the opioid epidemic next week, something activists and prominent members of the Republican Party, including Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), had been urging since he took office. This is wrong. And I'm sure the president sees this. "It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had".

"Over my dead body will he be the drug czar", he said.

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