Drug overdoses in the U.S. continue to skyrocket. Death by drugs is now a major killer in the U.S., and it’s time for action. President Donald J. Trump took his first major step as president in fighting the drug problem in the U.S Friday.
U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pennsylvania) was one of Donald Trump’s earliest backers on Capitol Hill after he became a presidential candidate. On Friday, Marino was nominated by the Trump administration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The office coordinates drug control strategy and funding across the federal government.
In Congress, Marino has worked to expand access to treatment for people struggling with opioid addiction. He’s also voted multiple times against a bipartisan measure to prevent the Justice Department from going after state-legal medical marijuana businesses. (The measure ultimately passed.)
Marino became known for his anti-marijuana stance after voting against a measure to allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients, as well as against a separate measure to loosen federal restrictions on hemp, a non-psychoactive variant of the cannabis plant with potential industrial applications.
Asked about marijuana legalization last fall, the Washington Post reported that Marino said, “The only way I would agree to consider legalizing marijuana is if we had a really in depth-medical scientific study. If it does help people one way or another, then produce it in pill form.” He went on to note, “I think it’s a states’ rights issue.”
As a congressman, Marino advocated for a national program of mandatory inpatient substance abuse treatment for nonviolent drug offenders. In a hearing last year he stated, “One treatment option I have advocated for years would be placing non-dealer, nonviolent drug abusers in a secured hospital-type setting under the constant care of health professionals.”
He further explained, “Once the person agrees to plead guilty to possession, he or she will be placed in an intensive treatment program until experts determine that they should be released under intense supervision. If this is accomplished, then the charges are dropped against that person. The charges are only filed to have an incentive for that person to enter the hospital-slash-prison, if you want to call it.”
The Washington Post report pointed out that forced inpatient treatment in a hospital-slash-prison would presumably include drug users who are not necessarily drug abusers, noting that only about 21 percent of current marijuana users meet diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence. The other 79 percent do not need treatment for their drug use.
Marino acknowledged that implementing such a policy nationwide would “take a lot of money.”
The drug office’s track record on meeting its drug policy goals is unimpressive. In 2010, the office set a series of ambitious goals to reduce overall drug use, overdoses and drugged-driving incidents, but a 2015 Government Accountability Office report found that it failed to meet any of them.
A resident of Williamsport, Pa., Marino, 64, is a former county prosecutor who served as U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania’s Middle District under President George W. Bush.
He was the first Pennsylvania congressman to endorse Trump in the presidential primary contest. He was also the fifth GOP congressman overall to back Trump, Politico reported.
The congressman told reporters at the time that Trump had “overwhelming support” in his district, because “he’s the man for the unprotected … not the protected, not for the Wall Street people, not for the D.C. insiders, but for the hard-working taxpayers.”
Marino was previously nominated to lead the drug office, but he was forced to withdraw from consideration in May due to an illness in his family.
In 2016, Marino was part of a GOP effort to investigation allegations that Hillary Clinton committed perjury when she testified before Congress about her private email server.
Here is more information about Marion’s history as a politician:
Thomas Anthony Marino is currently serving his third term as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district.
Marino served as a Lycoming County District Attorney from 1992 to 2002. In 2002, Marino was appointed the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by President George W. Bush.
In 2007, Marino resigned from office of U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Anonymous sources claimed that Marino resigned his position while under review by the Department of Justice. In 2007, the current US Attorney for the Middle District of PA, Peter Smith, confirmed that neither Marino, nor his office, were ever under review or investigation.
“At no time was Marino under investigation by the Justice Department,” said Smith. After his resignation in 2007, Marino accepted a position as an in-house attorney for DeNaples Management.
Marino is one of the most conservative members of the Pennsylvania delegation. He ranked third among PA members in Americans for Prosperity’s scorecard (70%) and fifth in Club for Growth’s scorecard (63%).
- He’s the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and co-chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Caucus.
In 2011, Rep. Marino became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261, otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Marino supports the death penalty. He believes that the mentally ill and criminals should not be able to obtain guns.
In July 2012, Marino introduced a bill to help fund local and state governments, about $800 million per year, to sustain various law enforcement activities such as prosecution, prevention, education, training, and corrections called the “Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2012”. Marino said, “Local law enforcement agencies and officials need nothing less than our full support in combating crime on every level.”
In July 2013, Marino voted “NO” to Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment #413 to H.R. 2397 “to end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act and bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215,” which Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act, considers un-American.
As of May 2016, Tom Marino has sponsored 40 bills, none of which have become law.
Here is a list of his previously successful bills:
Marino introduced H.J. Res. 40 on March 26, 2015. This bill proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to require that each law enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject and that the subject be clearly and descriptively expressed in the title of the law.
Marino introduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2013. After multiple committee considerations, the bill was in part added as an amendment in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM Act), which was signed into law by President Obama in February 2014.
Marino introduced the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013 into the House. Marino introduced this same bill in the 114th Congress. The bill aims to expedite the review process required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for construction projects that are partly or fully financed with federal funds or require permits or approvals from federal regulatory agencies.
In 2014, Marino, alongside Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, sponsored the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act,” which amended to Controlled Substances Act to increase the burden of proof enforcers need to show against drug distributors.
McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health spent $13 million lobbying in support of the bill. When Joseph Rannazzisi, the chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control, strongly criticized the bill, Congressman Marino demanded the drug diversion enforcer be investigated by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Rannazzisi was fired in August 2015. Marino’s bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama in April 2016.
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