WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would “look into” a report that his nomination for drug czar championed a law weakening the Drug Enforcement Administration’s capacity to slow the flow of drugs that have fueled the country’s opioid epidemic.
Trump nominated Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which works to reduce illicit drug use.
The report by the Washington Post and CBS described how Marino introduced and helped push through the industry-backed Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act.
“As far as Tom Marino, so he was a very earlier supporter of mine … I did see the report. We’re going to look into the report; we’re going to take it very seriously because we’re going to have a major announcement, probably next week, on the drug crisis and on the opioid, massive problem,” Trump told journalists.
Marino’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.
A White House commission suggested the opioid epidemic should be declared a national emergency.
Opioids were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in the United States in 2015, the last year of publicly available data, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdoses from the category of drugs nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2015, the institution said.
Reporting by James Oliphant; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Lisa Shumaker