Senator: Nominee Too Cozy with Drug Companies Who Helped to Create Opioid Epidemic; Voted to Take Addiction Treatment Away from 200,000 Ohioans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) took to the Senate floor to voice his opposition to Rep. Tom Marino to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy and called on President Donald Trump to withdraw Marino’s nomination.
“We need to treat this epidemic like the public health emergency that it is, and that’s why I cannot support Rep. Tom Marino’s nomination to head our country’s drug control policy. Congressman Marino is a nominee who is too cozy with the drug companies who helped create this epidemic in the first place. Make no mistake, Congressman Marino does not want to take us in the right direction in this fight,” said Brown.
“Instead of investing in prevention and treatment, Mr. Marino seems to think we can arrest our way out of this problem – but that’s not what law enforcement officials across Ohio tell me.
“Addiction isn’t an individual problem or a character flaw, it’s a chronic disease – we need someone running our drug policy who understands that, not someone who wants to pull patients out of treatment in the middle of an epidemic. Congressman Marino voted for the House health care repeal bill that would do exactly that.”
Brown’s full remarks as proposed for delivery follow below.
Sen. Sherrod Brown Floor Statement in Opposition to Rep. Tom Marino’s Nomination to Head the Office of National Drug Control Policy
October 16, 2017
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
The addiction epidemic is a national emergency that takes far too many lives and destroys too many families across the country, particularly in Ohio.
A record 4,050 Ohioans died from drug overdoses last year. That’s more than 4,000 families who lost a mother, a father, a daughter, a son.
We need to treat this epidemic like the public health emergency that it is, and that’s why I cannot support Rep. Tom Marino’s nomination to head our country’s drug control policy.
Congressman Marino is a nominee who is too cozy with the drug companies who helped create this epidemic in the first place.
Earlier today, President Trump responded to reports about Congressman Marino’s work supporting drug companies, and said he’s looking at those reports, “very closely.”
I hope he does, and I hope he withdraws this nomination.
Because make no mistake, Congressman Marino does not want to take us in the right direction in this fight.
Instead of investing in prevention and treatment, Mr. Marino seems to think we can arrest our way out of this problem – but that’s not what law enforcement officials across Ohio tell me.
This morning I was in Austintown, Ohio, talking with Detective Toth at the Austintown Police Department about their efforts to fight addiction.
We didn’t talk about arresting people’s children and parents – we talked about how to promote the department’s Drug Take Back Day next week, where people can turn in unused prescription drugs, so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Addiction isn’t an individual problem or a character flaw, it’s a chronic disease – we need someone running our drug policy who understands that, not someone who wants to pull patients out of treatment in the middle of an epidemic.
Congressman Marino voted for the House health care repeal bill that would do exactly that. More than 200,000 Ohioans are getting treatment for addiction, right now, because of the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Marino voted to take that treatment way.
In Cincinnati, I met with a father who told me his daughter wouldn’t be alive right now if it weren’t for Medicaid, and the treatment for addiction she received because of it.
The folks in communities across Ohio who are fighting this every day – from our public health workers to our law enforcement officers to our hospitals – all tell me the same thing.
They say we need to fight this epidemic at every level – enforcement, prevention, treatment, recovery.
Of course we need the enforcement piece – that’s why I’ve introduced the bipartisan INTERDICT Act, to provide more resources to Customs and Border Protection agents to screen packages effectively and safely before they reach our neighborhoods.
But law enforcement across Ohio has made it very clear that the solution to this problem isn’t just locking people up. Everyone with real experience fighting this epidemic understands we need more access to treatment, not less.
My office has talked with the head of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Policy about how we need to be creative when it comes to education and prevention. Getting officers into schools to talk with kids about the dangers these opioids pose is just one idea we’ve discussed, and I want to hear more.
We need someone who wants to hear those ideas, and to bring them together as part of a national strategy to fight this epidemic.
It has been more than eight weeks since President Trump promised a national disaster declaration and we have yet to see a strategy from the White House to deal with this epidemic.
Ohio families cannot afford to wait.
Regardless of who is ultimately confirmed for this role, how can any nominee effectively carry out this job without a clear strategy coming from the White House?
Ohioans are waiting for that leadership.
This is the biggest public health emergency in my lifetime. We need the people in charge of our drug control policy to treat it that way.
Rep. Kent statement on deadly bombing in Somalia
COLUMBUS— State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) released the following statement in the aftermath of bombings in Somalia where some 300 people have been reported dead and many more injured:
“At a time when many are still suffering following recent acts of mass violence committed against innocent Americans, we hear of yet another horrific incident in what is being called the deadliest bombing attack in the history of Somalia. Though located halfway across the globe, our hearts break just the same. My prayers go out to the victims and their families in Somalia, as well as to Somali communities in Ohio and around the United States.
“I strongly condemn these senseless acts of violence, whether they were carried out by troubled individuals or groups of individuals who commit terrorist attacks. The victims know no difference. I ask that we continue to draw lessons from these cowardly acts and further learn to respect each other’s differences peacefully. These attacks have no place in any city or country in the world. I urge all of us to support efforts underway to assist Somalia, its people and the ongoing recovery and healing process in the aftermath of this horrific tragedy.”
Update: Trump’s drug czar nominee withdraws from consideration after ’60 Minutes’ investigation