Tom Marino Withdraws Nomination as Head of White House Drug Control Office

Representative Tom Marino ONDCP

Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania announced this week he is withdrawing his name from consideration as head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. His decision comes in the wake of a Washington Post and 60 Minutes joint report that concluded legislation Marino sponsored hampered efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to fight the opioid epidemic.

The legislation, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, was opposed by the DEA, and supported by drug companies, NPR reports. It changed the standard for identifying dangers of opioids to local communities from “imminent” threats to “immediate” threats. This impeded the DEA’s authority to freeze suspicious shipments of opioids in order to reduce the flow of painkillers to the black market, the article notes.

Statement from Fred Muench, Partnership President and CEO, in Response to “60 Minutes” Feature

We are disheartened to learn of the revelations in Sunday’s “60 Minutes” story. The story revealed lobbying on behalf of pharmaceutical distributors to limit the authority of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to investigate and prosecute illegal shipments of opioids being diverted to small communities.