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Congressman Tom Marino

Representing the 10th District of Pennsylvania

ICYMI: Implausible Rep. Tom Marino led a Bipartisan Conspiracy to Worsen Drug Addiction Crisis

October 25, 2017
Press Release

ICYMI: Implausible Rep. Tom Marino led a Bipartisan Conspiracy to Worsen Drug Addiction Crisis

Bipartisan Drug Cartel?
The Wall Street Journal

The Editorial Board
October 24, 2017 

“Perhaps you’ve heard that President Trump’s drug office nominee colluded with pharmaceutical companies to worsen the opioid crisis, based on a press dispatch this month. The resulting panic could result in reversing a useful law, so allow us to fill in the real story of this grand non-conspiracy that included 535 Members of Congress and Barack Obama.

“Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino recently withdrew his name to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy. A Washington Post and “60 Minutes” investigation implied that a bill Mr. Marino sponsored choked off the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to go after illegal shipments of prescription drugs. The narrative drums along that Mr. Marino was a shill for the pharmaceutical lobby. Members of Congress are now calling to repeal the law that passed both chambers unanimously and Mr. Obama signed last year.

….

“To understand what’s going on here, zero in on former DEA official Joe Rannazzisi, the star source for “60 Minutes” and the Washington Post. Mr. Rannazzisi, the story notes, now consults for lawyers suing the opioid industry. Where there is pain and suffering, there are trial lawyers looking to make a buck. And the plaintiffs bar is using state lawsuits to turn opioids into the next tobacco. “Opioids: The Next Tobacco?” ran a trial lawyer seminar in Washington last month, as the American Tort Reform Association has noted.

….

“But DEA also has authority to issue “immediate suspension orders” when there’s an “imminent danger to public health or safety,” and halt a company’s shipments without the hassle of a proceeding. The agency deployed this tool in 2012 against Cardinal Health ,which contested the suspension in court. The Controlled Substances Act for years didn’t clarify what represents “an imminent danger” to the public, so DEA could more or less issue suspensions as it deemed fit, as Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, explained last week.

….

“All of this matters because Congress may soon try to whoop through a repeal bill, and Democrats fresh off scuttling Mr. Marino will now indict every GOP Member of Congress as a drug dealer. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who is running for the Senate, co-sponsored a version of the bill and has since walked back her support, which is unfortunate. If anything, Congress ought to do more to restrict DEA actions that can blow up the supply chain and interfere with medical decision-making outside its jurisdiction.

….

“More broadly, note the cynicism of accusing one Republican of deepening a social crisis that had claimed tens of thousands of lives before Congress thought up this bill. The horrors of opioid addiction come from many dysfunctions, including too many prescriptions; a decline in work; heroin and fentanyl; easy access from Medicaid; and others. The story that a Member of Congress led a bipartisan conspiracy to worsen drug addiction is as false as it is implausible.”

To read more, click here.