Now that Pennsylvania Representative Tom Marino has officially withdrawn his name for consideration for drug czar of the United States, there is a lot of talk around the political water cooler about who could be next in line for a nomination. And it seems there’s one question that everyone is asking: Will Florida’s attorney general become Trump’s drug czar?
Pam Bondi—The Next Logical Choice?
Reports from both the Sunshine State News and Florida Politics suggest that Pam Bondi is the next logical selection for director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) due to her present connection with Trump as part of his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Bondi was appointed to the panel, earlier this year.
But, according to Bondi, it might not be necessary for the president to get serious about filling the drug czar role.
On Tuesday, the former Tampa prosecutor told reporters in Tallahassee that she wasn’t convinced that the position was integral in the fight to keep national drug policy on the straight and narrow.
She said that the U.S DEA and other offices dedicated to drug control were already “doing great,” giving some indication that additional guidance was not necessary.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m in D.C. a lot. I can tell you the DEA is doing great, all the executive offices are doing great… everybody works well together. Whether that exact position is needed? I don’t know.”
There are some who believe that Bondi would be perfect for the job because she has been combating drug issues in the Sunshine State for several years.
Bondi, who has resided in her current post since 2010, is largely responsible for pushing policies that require harsher penalties for physicians who abuse their prescription pads.
After the height of the state’s pill mill problem, in which doctors were slinging massive amounts of oxycodone and other dangerous opioids out of the very clinics they owned, Bondi claimed that her office, with the help of law enforcement, had shut down almost a hundred of the leading “oxycodone-dispensing doctors in this country.”
However, some of the latest statistics show that Bondi’s tough-on-crime approach did nothing to solve the problem, only change its shape and give it a new name.
Now, everyone in Florida who used to pop pills seems to have graduated to heroin.
The state has seen a 1,250 percent increase in heroin-related deaths since the pill mill crackdown of 2010. This type of policy, which would undoubtedly be supported by Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, could be devastating at the nation level.
Why Trump’s Drug Czar Pick Is So Important
There is a great deal of pressure on President Trump right now to do something, or at least create the illusion that he is doing something, about the desperate state of the opioid crisis sweeping the nation. New federal data shows that opioids killed more than 64,000 people last year—over half of these deaths were attributed to the abuse of physician prescribed painkillers.
Not only that, but the average citizen is now being inundated with terrifying tales of opioid deaths every time they turn on the television or search the internet. In short, the American people are starting to demand that something be done about this problem before the entire population is hooked on drugs.
President Trump said back in August that he was on the verge of declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency, but, so far, nothing has been done.
However, the president indicated on Monday that he would make the declaration sometime before the end of the week.
Final Hit: Will Florida’s Attorney General Become Trump’s Drug Czar?
Bondi told reporters that she was headed to Washington, D.C. later this week to discuss the opioid epidemic with her colleagues in the commission. But rest assured, she is not about to suggest the concept of legal medical marijuana as a possible solution.
In 2014, Bondi actively fought against an initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Although she did not fight the measure last year, she remained opposed to the measure throughout the group’s successful campaign. She is now asking a judge to throw out a case filed by United for Care founder John Morgan, intended to give patients the right to smoke medical marijuana. Bondi argues that if organizers wanted pot smoking included in the law, they should have included it in the original language.