Katherine Daniel ~ Editor in Chief
Melania Trump will be visiting at Liberty University on November 28, 2018, for a discussion on opioid abuse. The first lady is taking on this subject as part of her “Be Best” initiative.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “In 2016, there were 1,130 opioid-related overdose deaths in Virginia—a rate of 13.5 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. Since 2010, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths has increased from 45 to 450 deaths—a tenfold increase. Overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids have increased even more dramatically from 87 to 648 deaths.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse also revealed, “In 2015, Virginia providers wrote 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (approximately 5.6 million prescriptions), equivalent to the national average.”
According to NBC12 reporter Brian Tynes, “Trump will appear at the weekly Convocation along with former Fox News host Eric Bolling and two members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet – Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.”
Tynes said, “Actress Dianna Hart, who is singer Demi Lovato’s mother, will also join the discussion. Bolling’s son died from a drug overdose and Lovato was hospitalized due to one.”
According to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, “Virginia is currently under a public health emergency as a result of the opioid addiction crisis. Virginia has been severely impacted by opioid abuse, particularly the abuse of prescription drugs. In 1999, the first year for which such data is available, approximately 23 people died from abuse of fentanyl, hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone (the leading prescription opioids abused, commonly referred to as FHMO). By 2013, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 386 individuals died from the abuse of FHMO, an increase of 1,578%, with fentanyl being the primary substance fueling this increase. In 2013 alone, there was an increase of more than 100% in deaths attributed to fentanyl use. In 2013, as before in 2011, drug-related deaths happened at a higher per capita level (11.0 deaths per 100,000) than motor vehicle crashes (10.1 per 100,000).”
The event will be like a town hall meeting and according to Tynes, “Liberty University president Jerry Falwell will discuss the university’s actions in regard to the opioid abuse and will be livestreamed on the university’s Facebook page.”