Melania Trump Discusses Opioid Epidemic

By Kelly Burch 12/05/18

During her speech, Trump detailed startling statistics about the opioid epidemic but urged students to look beyond those numbers. 

Melania Trump spoke about the opioid epidemic during a speech about her Be Best campaign

First Lady Melania Trump spoke with college students about the opioid epidemic last week, calling the current situation the "worst drug crisis in American history.”

Trump appeared at a town hall meeting at Liberty University, a Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. She appeared on a panel hosted by former Fox News personality Eric Bolling, whose son died of an accidental drug overdose last year. 

During the panel, Trump said she has seen how deeply the country has been affected by opioid abuse as she explores the issue as part of her “Be Best” campaign to emphasize emotional wellbeing. 

"When I took on opioid abuse as one of the pillars of my initiative 'Be Best,' I did it with the goal of helping children of all ages. I have visited several hospitals and facilities that are dedicated to helping all who have been affected by this disease — including people who are addicted, babies born addicted and families coping with addiction of a loved one," she said to the students at Liberty University, according to CNN. "What has struck me with each visit is how this epidemic has touched so many people -- whether it is because of personal use, or that of family members, friends, coworkers or neighbors -- opioid addiction is an illness that has truly taken hold of our country." 

During her speech, Trump detailed the statistics about the opioid epidemic but urged students to look beyond those numbers. 

"I also believe you have the capacity to not think of this in terms of statistics, but to think of this as a human story and an opportunity to save lives," she said.

She added that everyone needs to be aware of the danger of opioids and of how to support someone who is struggling with substance use disorder. 

"While you may never personally become addicted, the chances of you knowing someone who struggles with it are very high," she said. "And if you, or someone you know needs help, you need to be brave enough to ask, or strong enough to stand with them as they fight through the disease.”

Trump also told students that through her “Be Best” campaign she hopes to help kids realize that the actions they take now can affect them for years to come.

“I saw it as an opportunity to speak with all of you as you enter a critical stage of your lives,” she told students, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The independence that comes with being a young adult is exciting but overwhelming... I know college is a time of independence. I am here to remind you some of those decisions, though they may seem minor at the time, could negatively impact you for the rest of your lives.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.