Melania Trump’s "Be Best" Campaign Tackles Emotional Health, Opioid Abuse

By Victoria Kim 05/10/18

The first lady's new platform promotes healthy living, positive use of social media and awareness of the impact of drug use.

Melania Trump

Melania Trump will use her platform as First Lady of the United States to promote the physical and emotional health of children, and to address the impact that drug use has on children.

The first lady unveiled her “Be Best” campaign in the White House Rose Garden on Monday (May 7). It focuses on three pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse, according to the official White House website.

“By promoting values such as healthy living, encouragement, kindness, and respect, teachers, and other adults can help prepare children for their futures,” according to the website. “With those values as a solid foundation, children will be able to better deal with the evils of the opioid crisis and avoid negative social media interaction.”

Trump’s campaign, seemingly crude or disjointed, according to critics, nevertheless pushes an important message. Her three pillars—which promote healthy living, positive use of social media, and awareness of the impact of drug use—are all inevitably connected.

“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” said Trump. “I feel strongly that as adults we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.”

The first lady emphasizes the importance of positive and productive social media use, to counter cyberbullying and “negativity.” “It is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind (children) that when they are using their voices—whether verbally or online—they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion,” according to the White House website.

As the last pillar of her campaign, Trump is promoting awareness and education around the impact that drug use has on children, including babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome that occurs in babies that have been exposed to drugs in the womb.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate at which babies are born with NAS has quadrupled over 15 years in the United States.

The first lady previously hosted a roundtable discussion on the opioid epidemic at the White House last fall, with guests including White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor and the chair of President Trump’s now-dissolved opioid commission.

“The well-being of children is of the utmost importance to me and I plan to use my platform as first lady to help as many kids as I can,” said Trump at the time.

She also visited Lily’s Place, a West Virginia care center that treats babies born with NAS, last year. “We need to open the conversation and teach children and young mothers that it’s dangerous to use drugs,” the first lady said.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr