Politics Melania Trump to visit West Virginia opioid treatment center

20:56  09 october  2017
20:56  09 october  2017 Source:   CNN

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Trump will reportedly visit Lily's Place, a recovery center in Huntington, that provides medical care to infants exposed to drugs while in the womb. It will be Trump 's first visit to such a facility during her husband's presidency.

HUNTINGTON, WV - On Tuesday, First Lady Melania Trump will visit Huntington, West Virginia , with the It will be the First Lady's first visit to a drug treatment center since her husband took office. Every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal in the United States, according to

US President Donald Trump listens before a meeting with administration officials and First Lady Melania Trump (R) on the opioid addiction crisis at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8.© NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump listens before a meeting with administration officials and First Lady Melania Trump (R) on the opioid addiction crisis at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8.

First lady Melania Trump will embark on a visit Tuesday morning to Huntington, West Virginia, with the specific purpose of visiting Lily's Place, an infant recovery center that helps families dealing with addiction.

It will be the first lady's first visit to a drug treatment center since her husband took office. Lily's Place offers medical care to infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which occurs when newborns have been exposed to addictive substances during a mother's pregnancy. The center also offers support, education, and counseling services to families and caregivers, per its website.

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no connect. GOP leaders react to Trump ’s Virginia remarks — but not to Trump .

Trump took part in a briefing Monday during his 17-day “working vacation” with attendees including Price and First Lady Melania Trump . “I have been saying all along that we have an emergency in West Virginia with opioid and drug addiction,” he said in a statement.

"To help babies born addicted truly succeed, we must help their parents succeed," the first lady's communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN when asked why Trump opted to spotlight infants.

Every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a statistic described as a "dramatic increase."

The devastating opioid epidemic in the United States has only worsened in recent years, something President Donald Trump vowed to address on the campaign trail. In March, the President signed an executive order establishing the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And in August, he instructed the administration "to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis."

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A White House spokesman told CNN the status of the formal national emergency declaration is still in flux.

"The President's policy advisers are working through the details with all of the relevant components and agencies. Right now these actions are undergoing a legal review," he said.

However, since the creation of the President's Commission in March, the President has been regularly briefed on the topic, and in May signed off on a requested $500 million towards the opioid crisis in his 2018 Budget.

"The statistic that 40% of babies born addicted to drugs are put into foster care is one that Mrs. Trump would like to see lowered, and Lily's Place was created with that in mind," Grisham said. "They recognize that parents who are working hard to overcome addiction will encounter barriers and need support."

US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, on May 25, 2017, in Brussels.© AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, on May 25, 2017, in Brussels.

Melania Trump held her first solo policy roundtable discussion last month at the White House on the topic of addiction. One of the attendees at the event was Rebecca Crowder, the executive director of Lily's Place. Grisham confirmed the first lady learned about the existence of Lily's Place several months ago while researching and having conversations with experts about the opioid crisis.

West Virginia gets approval to expand substance abuse treatment coverage

  West Virginia gets approval to expand substance abuse treatment coverage The Trump administration has approved a request by West Virginia to expand Medicaid coverage for treatment of substance abuse disorders, state officials announced Tuesday. West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, and officials said the waiver will contribute to a "comprehensive statewide strategy" to combat prescription drugWest Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, and officials said the waiver will contribute to a "comprehensive statewide strategy" to combat prescription drug abuse and opioid use disorders.

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Trump has said issues facing children will be the cornerstone of her official platform, including how they interact with the drug epidemic.

"Together, we must acknowledge that all too often it is the weakest, most innocent and vulnerable among us, our children, who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies," Trump said during a speech at the US Mission to the United Nations last month. "Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy, or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country. And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people."

Grisham added Trump also has an interest in helping remove the stigma and shame attached to drug use and recovery, another reason for her Tuesday visit.

"In all of her conversations and research about the crisis, the biggest barrier to getting treatment has been the stigma that surrounds drug addiction," Grisham said. "People are ashamed or afraid to seek treatment. She believes people need to talk openly and teach our children the real dangers of drugs."

The trip to West Virginia is scheduled to last several hours, and the first lady will return to the White House in the afternoon.

Trump's drug czar nominee out after "60 Minutes" opioid report .
Trump tweets nominee for drug czar has withdrawn his name from consideration for the position."Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar," Mr. Trump said. "Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!"Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017The announcement came following a joint investigation by CBS' "60 Minutes" and The Washington Post on the opioid crisis.

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