Time for Congress to Admit Its Mistake, Empower the DEA

At some point, Congress should take stock and figure out how a bill that eviscerated the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s ability to stem the deadly flow of opioids passed on consent (no individual votes on record). However, the first order of business should be to pass legislation to get ahold of drug companies and suppliers poisoning our population.

The “60 Minutes”/Washington Post investigative report was both fascinating and extremely troubling. In April of 2006, Congress took away the DEA’s ability to seize drug shipments that it knew to be heading into the wrong hands—corrupt “pain clinics,” shady pharmacies and money-grubbing doctors. The law that tied the DEA’s hands passed on consent without any member of Congress on record for a vote.


The biggest villain in the whole story is US Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.). Despite ties to the drug companies, he wrote the law undercutting the DEA, cleared its path to passage by whacking a key DEA investigator (and now whistle blower), then (almost) becoming President Trump’s drug czar. He later withdrew.


Now, some members of Congress are standing up and saying essentially, “We screwed up. Let’s fix it.”

Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating (D-Mass. 9th) says he is ready to introduce legislation that would repeal the Marino law. “Our legislation will totally rescind the law that was passed and will go a step further. It will allow law enforcement to go back retroactively and deal with an ongoing investigation that might have commenced when this law took effect,” he said, adding, “this law will not give people a free pass.” Keating made the comments to NPR.


Keating knows from where he speaks. His district includes Cape Cod which has been devastated by heroin and other opioid deaths. One town in Keating’s district was featured last week on NBC Nightly News.


Congressman Marino’s story is far from over. Bought and paid for by the drug companies and suppliers, he nearly destroyed the DEA ability to fight the crisis while doing the bidding of the suppliers.