ALARMING

Report: Trump’s Pick for Drug Czar Helped Hinder Opioid Crackdown

President Trump’s nominee to be the country’s next drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), has been singled out as the architect behind legislation that crippled the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fight against the opioid epidemic, in a new joint investigation by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes. Marino was the chief advocate of a bill introduced in 2013 and passed in 2016—at the height of the drug epidemic—that stripped the DEA of its authority to freeze shipments of suspicious narcotics from drug companies, The Washington Post reported. Joe Rannazzisi, the former chief of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, alleges in the report that several members of Congress are under the control of major drug companies that use their money to gain influence. According to the Post, political action committees representing the pharmaceutical industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 members of Congress who sponsored or co-sponsored the industry-friendly legislation. Marino reportedly received $100,000 from these committees, while Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) is said to have gotten $177,000.