Congressman Tom Marino, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the nation’s “drug czar,” has a track record of advocating enforcement-side drug policy and better treatment for people with addiction. The president on Sept. 1, 2017, nominated Marino to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), four months after the Pennsylvania Republican had formally withdrawn from consideration citing a critical illness in his family.
Marino, a long-time Trump supporter, has voted against drug reforms in the past. It means that he is in favor of escalating war on drugs through the criminal justice system. He echoes the views of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on medical marijuana. He had voted against a measure that prevented the Department of Justice from taking action on medical cannabis businesses in states, which have legalized the drug.
Marino had also proposed to place “non-violent drug abusers in a secured hospital-type setting” if they plead guilty to a charge related to drug possession. “The charges are only filed to have an incentive for that person to enter the hospital-slash-prison, if you want to call it,” Marino had said.
However, Marino has a controversial past that shows his alleged involvement in judge-shopping. Media reports suggest that he had an alleged role in judge-shopping in 1998 when he was an elected district attorney. He had requested a judge to clear the criminal records of Jay Kilheeney, a car dealer in northern Pennsylvania who was convicted in 1992 for distributing cocaine.
Although the expungement order was later revoked, it is reported that Kilheeney managed to retain a copy of the same, which he used to open a Ford dealership. Further, in 2006, while still a U.S. attorney, Marino reportedly served as a reference for Louis DeNaples, a convicted businessman. Also, after his resignation, Marino worked for DeNaples for an estimated salary of $250,000 before running for Congress. Though Marino has repeatedly denied all the allegations, these issues will likely crop up during his confirmation hearings before the Senate.
The office of the drug czar is entrusted with the responsibility of leading the efforts against drug abuse and addiction nationwide. Moreover, the drug czar is charged with overseeing the budgets of anti-drug initiatives of federal agencies. Since January 2017, the ONDCP is being supervised by acting directors, who manage two monumental grant initiatives, namely, Drug-Free Communities that cater to the funding needs of drug use prevention programs, and the High Density Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program that funds regional law enforcement task forces.
Americans are sinking into abyss of addiction
America is in the midst of a drug-overdose epidemic, which is assuming gigantic proportions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone due to abuse of heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids. Statistics also show that opioid overdose cases have quadrupled since 1999. Trends suggest that drug overdoses have claimed more victims than gun violence or road rages in a given year.
Unfortunately, only a fraction of the affected individuals has access to professional counseling and treatment. The drug abuse crisis is emerging as a major public health challenge with violence, criminal activities, marital strife and neglect of children, coupled with rising health care costs, as the anticipated outcomes.
Seeking treatment for addiction
If any misconception or myth associated with addiction has prevented you or your loved one from seeking treatment, contact Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized therapies to treat afflicted individuals holistically. Specialists at our state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatment for addiction as well as group psychotherapy based on the patient’s requirements.
Additionally, patients can also opt for alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of their lives. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for more information about our drug addiction treatment facilities spread across the country.