Trump Nominates Drug Czar
Representative Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, has been nominated to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to STAT
, Marino had originally taken himself out of the running months ago due to his mother’s health, but President Donald Trump officially nominated him on Friday. Marino has been a longtime supporter of Trump, and he is an attorney with a track record of supporting improved drug treatment and enforcement-side drug policy. Marino will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
Time for ACA Reconciliation Almost Over
The rule that allows the Senate to pass an Affordable Care Act repeal and replace bill with a simple majority is almost out of time. Once the fiscal year ends on September 30, the rule that allows the use of reconciliation to pass a repeal and replace bill will expire, reported AP
. However, even with time still left, Republicans may not try to use the rule. Returning from their August recess, senators are focusing on bipartisan efforts to shore up the insurance exchanges with a series of hearings and meetings. Plus, Congress has a number of other agenda items that may take priority, such as aid for Hurricane Harvey and a government funding bill.
Fentanyl Deaths More Than Doubled in a Year
The tally of drug deaths in 2016 has shown that drug overdoses due to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, increased 22% over the previous year, with deaths involving fentanyl more than doubling. The New York Times reported
that deaths involving fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine kill people at a faster rate than the HIV epidemic at its peak. Meanwhile, there has actually been a downward trend in deaths from prescription opioids alone.