President Donald Trump intends to nominate Rep. Tom Marino to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House has announced.
Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, is a longtime Trump supporter and was among the first members of Congress to endorse his presidential bid.
Marino had previously withdrawn from the director position, commonly known as the “Drug Czar,” in May, citing “a critical illness” in his family.
“I thank the President for the enormous honor of considering me for this lead role in the effort to address one of the most pressing issues facing our nation and my state today: the opioid epidemic,” he said in a statement at the time. “I will remain in Congress and continue to support President Trump in whatever way I can.”
Marino was appointed by President George W. Bush as a US attorney for Pennsylvania’s Middle District in 2002 and was elected to Congress in 2010. In May 2016, he was named to a bipartisan congressional committee aimed at creating legislation to combat the opioid epidemic.
The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy is tasked with developing the administration’s approach to reducing drug use and its consequences. The director serves as the principal adviser to the President on drug control issues, according to the White House. The office also supports the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
The Trump administration backtracked on plans to nearly eliminate the office. A draft memo obtained by CNN in May proposed cutting the office’s 2018 budget by about 94%. Drug control advocates decried the draft memo after it was released, saying it showed Trump was failing to make good on his 2016 campaign promise to combat opioid abuse.
Marino’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.