Joe Biden Nominates Indian American Rahul Gupta as ‘Drug Czar’

Joe Biden nominated physician and health officer Rahul Gupta to head the National Drug Control Policy.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dr Rahul Gupta, nominee to the office of Director, National Drug Control Policy.</p></div>

President Joe Biden on Tuesday, 13 July, nominated Indian American Rahul Gupta as the Director of National Drug Control Policy.

The announcement came in as one of the 11 key nominations made by the President. Another Indian American doctor, Atul Gawande, was nominated for the position of Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development.

Who is Dr Rahul Gupta?

Born in Delhi to an Indian Diplomat, Gupta completed medical school in Delhi, post which he earned a degree in Public Health from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a global MBA from the London School of Business and Finance.

A primary care physician of 25 years, Rahul Gupta, is currently the Chief Medical and Health Officer at March of Dimes where he provides strategic oversight to the organisation's efforts towards public health. He is also the Clinical Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

A national and global thought leader and a driver of innovative public policies on health issues, Dr Gupta serves as an advisor to several organisations and task forces on local, national, and international public health policy, a White House Press Release said.

Dr Gupta served in West Virginia as its Commissioner of Public Health under two Governors, prior to which he was the Local Health Officer and Executive Director at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.


What is the Office of Drug Czar?

If confirmed by the Senate, Gupta will be the first physician to hold the office of the drug czar, a term coined by Joe Biden in 1982. The president was a supporter for the inception of the drug policy office.

The pandemic has seen a rise in addiction related issues. Overdose deaths have increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. Dr Gupta, in an interview to Sinclair Broadcast Group has stated shutting down of in-person care services and the shift to virtual has contributed to the rising numbers.

"As a physician, I have seen firsthand the heartbreaking toll of addiction and overdose in all our communities, but I have also seen how we can save lives if we understand the individuals behind the statistics and meet them where they are with high-quality, evidence-based care and services."
Rahul Gupta to the Washington Post

"Dr Gupta brings firsthand experience as a medical doctor and public health official using evidence-based strategies to address the overdose epidemic in West Virginia," the White House said in a statement.

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