Sound advice on DEA nominee

Perhaps there is a silver lining to political pressure that forced a change of President Donald Trump’s plan to name a new federal drug czar. It could lead to a much more effective — and committed — person in the position.

Trump had planned to nominate Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., to lead the Drug Enforcement Agency. But controversy over a drug-related bill Marino had sponsored prompted him to withdraw his name from consideration.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has some suggestions for Trump in finding a new DEA nominee. Manchin has ample reason to want the best possible person in the job. West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation. At least 818 people died of overdoses, many of opiates including pain pills and heroin, last year.

Each day, on average, more than two of Manchin’s constituents are claimed by the substance abuse plague.

Earlier this week, he recommended a checklist of qualifications for a DEA head:

– He or she should have a health care background.

– A Washington outsider, someone not from the federal government establishment, is preferable.

– Someone with a family member touched by drug abuse should be selected.

To that, we would add only that a person with some exposure to law enforcement would be good. So would a person with experience in government not at the federal level.

Sadly, it would not be difficult to find someone affected personally by substance abuse.

Manchin’s suggestions reflect no special expertise. They are merely common sense, a list of qualifications indicating dedication to getting the job done against drug abuse, knowledge of how to do it and, perhaps most important, no allegiance to “the swamp” in Washington.

Trump should take the Mountain State senator’s advice. Of all the positions Trump must fill, a leader in the war against drug abuse may be the most critical to get right.