White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll will be nominated as President Trump’s “drug czar,” in a move designed to shore up the administration’s response to the opioid crisis, Politico reports. Carroll, an attorney, would take the helm of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has been targeted with budget cuts and whose chief of staff was sacked in December. For months, the office’s top political appointee was a 24-year-old former Trump campaign staffer with no relevant qualifications. “We have full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combatting the opioids crisis, reducing drug use and coordinating U.S. drug policy,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Last week, Politico reported that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a crisis claiming about 175 lives a day. Trump’s first choice for drug car was Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), who withdrew from consideration in October after media reports that he Pennsylvania Republican backed a law that hobbled federal efforts to combat opioid abuse. Carroll was general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget and also held positions with Ford Motor Co.