With rampant abuse of heroin, OxyContin and other similar drugs reaching epidemic levels in the United States, First Lady Melania Trump hosted an opioid abuse discussion in the White House this week in an effort to combat the rampant rise of illegal substance abuse.
“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 FLOTUS during a dinner on Thursday with 10 guests in the White House State Dining Room.
Among those in attendance were well-known players in the GOP retinue, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and Tom Price, the current Health and Human Services Secretary. The rest of the attendees were either those who work in the field of drug recovery, or those whose lives have been affected by the opioid crisis.
“(The) roundtable is about listening and learning,” East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham relayed to CNN and other members of the press. “She wants to speak with as many people as possible and get their feedback on ways she can use her role as first lady to help with this epidemic.”
Final Hit: Melania Trump Hosted An Opioid Abuse Discussion At The White House
Despite the alarming abuse of opioids in the U.S., a panel from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled earlier this summer that it is not enough to qualify the use of counter-effective measures. Among these measures, includes prescribing painkillers that hinder misuse, like a generic version of OxyContin which releases a blue dye if the user attempts to get high by crushing, snorting or chewing the tablet.
While Mrs. Trump’s preliminary measures to address the issues surrounding the U.S. opioid pandemic are heartening, they serve as a stark contrast to the outlook of the current White House at large.
While acknowledging the crisis—and the 52,000, death toll it has caused—Attorney General Jeff Sessions posited that the best strategy to combat it was to employ the “Just Say No” strategy coined by the Reagan administration in 1982, rather than emphasizing treatment and rehabilitation. (It’s important that “Just Say No” has been widely refuted by experts as ineffective.)
On top of that, a recent study highlighted that unlike the highfalutin (and frankly racist and classist) narratives spun by D.A.R.E. programs and prior presidencies alike, it isn’t recreational drug use on “the streets” that manufactures opioid addicts, but Big Pharma. As research firm the QuintilesMS Institute discovered, post-surgical pain management by patients is the leading cause of opioid dependence.
Despite this new and widely-circulated information, Trump stated that her current course of action will focus on prevention rather than rehabilitation, aiming her message at American youth.
“With the many issues (children) face as they are growing up, drug addiction, especially opioid abuse, is one of those issues,” Trump stated. “I look forward to working alongside the Presidential Opioid Commission, and people such as yourself, to do all we can to teach children the dangerous consequences of drug abuse.”