Biden to Nominate Rahul Gupta to Run National Office of Drug Control Policy

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Politics|Biden is expected to sanction a Manchin state who led West Virginia’s opioid effect arsenic the U.S. ‘drug czar.’

Dr. Rahul Gupta led West Virginia’s effect   to the opioid situation  from 2015 to 2018. 
Credit...Christian Tyler Randolph/Charleston Gazette-Mail, via Associated Press

Sheryl Gay Stolberg

  • July 13, 2021, 3:08 p.m. ET

President Biden intends to nominate Dr. Rahul Gupta, who led West Virginia’s effect to a devastating opioid crisis, to tally the National Office of Drug Control Policy — a prime that whitethorn make absorption from advocates for radical with substance maltreatment problems.

If confirmed by the Senate, helium would go the archetypal aesculapian doc to service arsenic the nation’s “drug czar” since the relation was created successful 1988. Dr. Gupta is presently the main aesculapian and wellness serviceman astatine March of Dimes.

White House officials confirmed Mr. Biden’s prime of Dr. Gupta, which was reported earlier successful The Washington Post. The president is expected to marque his announcement aboriginal connected Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention volition people statistic connected cause overdose deaths that, by each indications, volition shatter erstwhile records. Overdose deaths roseate by astir 30 percent implicit the 12-month play that ended successful November, from much than 71,000 to implicit 90,000, according to preliminary national data released past month.

As West Virginia’s commissioner of nationalist wellness and authorities wellness serviceman from 2015 to 2018, Dr. Gupta won praise for his assertive effect to the opioid crisis. Mr. Biden’s prime of Dr. Gupta whitethorn besides beryllium politically strategic: He is an state of Senator Manchin, the mean West Virginia Democrat whose ballot is important to the president’s legislative agenda.

But Dr. Gupta besides garnered disapproval for failing to halt the metropolis of Charleston from closing its needle exchange programme — a cardinal constituent of the strategy known arsenic “harm reduction,” which has been embraced by the Biden administration.

Instead of helping cause users execute abstinence, harm simplification aims to trim their hazard of dying oregon acquiring infectious diseases similar AIDS, including by giving them sterile equipment.

While Dr. Gupta was wellness commissioner, his section issued a study that recovered responsibility with the Charleston programme and led to its decertification aft it had already unopen it down. The programme had been nationally recognized, but was criticized by the city’s politician astatine the time. Public wellness experts said its closure had a chilling effect connected different programs, and kept immoderate from getting disconnected the ground.

“The Biden medication has made enhancing evidence-based harm simplification programs a priority, and it’s my sincere anticipation that Dr. Gupta volition clasp that argumentation and amusement wide enactment connected that issue,” said Robin Pollini, an subordinate prof of behavioral medicine of psychiatry astatine West Virginia University, who has successful the past been captious of Dr. Gupta.

In a 2018 interview with West Virginia nationalist broadcasting, Dr. Gupta spoke retired against the closure, saying it was “not successful the champion involvement of the community” erstwhile needle speech programs similar Charleston’s are unopen down “reactively.”

“It plays into that stigma and is much harmful semipermanent than it is beneficial,” the outlet quoted him arsenic saying.

The lad of an Indian diplomat, Dr. Gupta was calved successful India and grew up successful Washington, D.C. He completed aesculapian schoolhouse astatine the University of Delhi erstwhile helium was 21, according to a biography supplied by the White House.

The cause power argumentation bureau was created by Congress arsenic portion of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, signed into instrumentality by President Ronald Reagan.

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