Jim Carroll, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for the last three months, will leave his role at the White House to serve as the nation’s "drug czar.”
President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Carroll will leave his post to serve as deputy director and acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his new role, he will be the public face of the administration's work to combat opioid addiction.
Despite the White House administration’s promises to tackle the opioid crisis, the office has been without a permanent leader for months. Trump’s first pick, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., withdrew from consideration of the nomination after media reports that he earned nearly $100,000 from the pharmaceutical lobbyists while backing legislation that would make it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids and circumvent the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The administration has also been under criticism for leaving the Office of National Drug Control Policy out of key decisions about opioids and the strategy. There is also concern that Trump wants to cut funding for the office by as much as 95%.
Carroll has little public health experience, according to the Associated Press. Prior to joining the administration, he worked for the Justice and Treasury Departments and the Ford Motor Company, the media outlet reported. The White House disputed his lack of public health experience, telling the AP that Carroll worked as a commonwealth attorney in Virginia and most of the cases were drug-related. He also worked with attorneys who had substance abuse problems at the Virginia State Bar.
In a statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration has “full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combating the opioid crisis, reducing drug use, and coordinating U.S. drug policy.”
Carroll will be taking over a troubled office, The Washington Post reported. Seven of Trump’s appointees have left the office in the past year, according to the publication.