Milgram did not respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post first reported Milgram’s selection. The DEA has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since the Obama administration. Former President Donald Trump relied on several acting administrators to steer the roughly $3 billion agency, which investigates violations of the nation’s drug laws. The story continues below advertisement.
In his presidential campaign, Biden criticized pharmaceutical companies for saturating the nation with opioid pills and vowed that he would direct the DEA “to identify suspicious shipments and protect communities” from potential drivers of the drug epidemic. Health officials have warned that the opioid crisis worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. TheCommonwealth Fund recently estimated that drug overdose deaths may have topped 90,000 last year, up from 70,630 in 2019.
“Addressing the overdose and addiction epidemic is an urgent issue facing the nation,” the White House said in a statement of its drug-policy priorities released this month. DEA officials last month also warned that traffickers continue to smuggle fentanyl, methamphetamines, and other drugs into the country at high rates, helping fuel drug overdoses and deaths.
As the attorney general for New Jersey, Milgram focused on using better crime data and overhauling the police department to significantly cut the murder rate in Camden, N.J. Earlier in her career, Milgram worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan and a civil rights prosecutor in the Justice Department.