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Dr. Rahul Gupta (center) speaks during a PBS segment of the Summer 2018 Television Critics Association Press Tour on July 31, 2018. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

President Biden will nominate former West Virginia health commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta to be the administration's drug czar, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: If confirmed, Gupta will be the first physician to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as the nation grapples with surging deaths from drug overdoses.

  • More Americans died of drug overdoses in the year leading to September 2020 than any 12-month period since the opioid epidemic began, Axios' Bryan Walsh reports.

The big picture: Gupta is a primary-care doctor and the top health official at the maternal and child health advocacy group March of Dimes. He was previously West Virginia's health commissioner and led Biden's transition for the drug policy office, per the Post.

  • Gupta's nomination drew bipartisan praise from West Virginia officials.
  • Republican Gov. Jim Justice called the nomination “great news,” and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said the pick “means someone with firsthand knowledge of the opioid crisis, especially in West Virginia, will be coordinating the national fight against the drug epidemic," AP reports.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy, created with the support of Biden in 1982, oversees and coordinates most drug-related policy, including the nation's response to the opioid crisis.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Manchin's red lines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has told the White House the child tax credit must include a firm work requirement and family income cap in the $60,000 range, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: While Manchin’s demands would dramatically weaken one of President Biden’s signature programs to help working families, they also would reduce the package’s overall costs.

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.