A former official of the West Virginia health department has emerged as one of the leading candidates making him the U.S.’s top drug official, which is a post which President Biden would not have to restore the Cabinet’s rank despite insisting the senator which serves as the “drug czar” deserves.
Rahul Gupta Is The Front-Runner In Biden’s Team
Rahul Gupta, who is the top official of the health at the maternal and child advocacy group in the March of Dimes, is favored as the lead of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This was said by 4 people with the proper knowledge of the selection process that spoke on the condition of anonymity for discussing some confidential deliberations. In this week a final decision will be expected very soon.
The thirty-year-old office that was created with the support of President Biden created a term known as “drug czar” in the year 1982. They will be coordinating on the national policy, fighting against the substance use disorders, which includes the response for an opioid crisis that has got worse during this pandemic. Former President Obama has demoted this office through his Cabinet in the year 2009 with some little explanation. The advocates now have clamored for President Biden for reversing this decision, this is pointing to their years of advocacy for elevating this role. On meeting with another White House spokesperson had said that Biden is not currently planning for changing the status.
Former West Virginia’s health commissioner Gupta, who had led Biden’s team and has played a vital role in the transition efforts in the drug policy, also has a good working relationship with the West Virginia Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin III. He has now emerged as a key person with a swing vote in the narrowly divided Senate. 2 people said that Manchin’s backing is a factor in the Gupta’s candidacy, and further the senator’s office has praised its work.
Sen. Manchin has said that he has great respect for Dr. Gupta has expressed the support for the nomination in the White House as said by Sam Runyon, who is the senator’s spokesperson. Gupta hasn’t responded to the request for the comment.
But President Biden’s decision is looming which has provoked a range of activities in the anti-addiction of the advocates and has also pushed the White House week’s agenda for scrutinizing the record of Gupta in West Virginia, stating that he did very little for ensuring this safe-needle exchange during an HIV outbreak in 2017. On Thursday, the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery has asked President Biden for pausing his decision for probing Gupta’s role in the moratorium of West Virginia on these new opioid treatment programs, as per the letter obtained to media personnel and as confirmed by this organization. Advocates have also been requesting President Biden for picking another candidate with some specialized experience in fighting this substance-use disorder like H. Westley Clark who is a professor at Santa Clara University. He has been seen as a finalist for this job.
They have said that Clark’s education as a lawyer, psychiatrist as a federal officer would position him as the person who could culturally address this issue, restorative justice way and behavioral way as said by A. Toni Young, who is the leader of the community-based organization which is focused on HIV/AIDS prevention.
The White House officials have cautioned that the final decision hasn’t been made as yet on this position and there are several potential candidates in the race, even when the overdoses are at the record levels.