The Trump administration is expected to name a White House lawyer as its pick to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after the acting director retires, The Washington Post reported.
The Post reported that Uttam Dhillon, who currently works as deputy White House counsel, is likely to take over at the agency as soon as next week. Dhillon previously worked at the Justice Department and as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.
Dhillon’s pending appointment comes roughly two weeks after acting DEA director Robert Patterson announced his plans to retire. Patterson reportedly told employees that it became "increasingly challenging” to “decide and address priorities for years into the future."
The DEA is undergoing a leadership change as the Trump administration attempts to address the national opioid epidemic. As part of that effort, the government has sought to crack down on the distribution and use of prescription opioids.
The DEA last month ordered Louisiana-based Morris & Dickson, a pharmaceutical distributor, to cease sales of opioids. The agency claimed that the company failed to report unusually large narcotics shipments to drugstores. The DEA later rescinded the order, however.
The DEA is also at the front lines of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE's hard-line views on marijuana.
While individual states have voted to legalize the drug, and others permit it for medical use, Sessions has expressed concerns about the substance and reversed policies that discourage federal prosecutors from potentially interfering with states with marijuana-friendly laws.
But Sessions told Hill.TV's "Rising" earlier this month that he believes President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE would support legislation to protect states that decriminalize marijuana.