Dr Rahul Gupta is Biden’s pick for nation’s drug czar

Washington, DC: President Joe Biden is reportedly set to name Rahul Gupta as the country’s top drug policy official, adding another Indian-American to a senior position in his administration.

Gupta, a primary-care doctor who served as top health official of West Virginia state, has been named director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a position referred to as “drug czar” – a term coined by Biden.

As a senator, Biden had supported the creation of the office. It was formed in 1982 to frame and coordinate national policy on combating substance-use disorders, including the response to an opioid crisis.

“President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Rahul Gupta to be the first physician ever to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is another historic step in the administration’s efforts to turn the tide of our nation’s addiction and overdose epidemic,” the White House said in a statement to The Washington Post, which first reported the move on Tuesday.

Gupta’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Gupta will join a growing pantheon of Indian-Americans in the Biden administration that includes vice-president Kamala Harris, surgeon general Vivek Murthy, director of the office of personnel Kiran Ahuja, head of Biden’s team of speechwriters Vinay Reddy, associate attorney general Vanita Gupta, and senior adviser Neera Tanden.

Politically, Gupta is an ally of Democratic senator from West Virginia Joe Manchin, who has emerged as a key US Congress figure over the passage of – or holding up – the president’s legislative agenda.

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy: harvard.edu)

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