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Conway to lead White House opioid effort

Conway to lead White House opioid effort
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ to probe Minneapolis police Garland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies MORE on Wednesday praised Kellyanne Conway’s efforts to help address the opioid epidemic for the White House.

“She is exceedingly talented, she understands messaging,” Sessions said at an event announcing the Justice Department’s next steps on the opioid crisis.

“We’ve got to change the perception in this country.”

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Conway has served as the White House’s point person on the opioid epidemic, a czar of sorts who has traveled with former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceA proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Biden health nominee faces first Senate test Focus on cabinet nominees' effectiveness and expertise, not just ideology MORE to communities hit hardest by the crisis.

Sessions said Wednesday that Conway will “coordinate and lead the effort from the White House.”

Sessions underlined the idea that having Conway in charge of the opioid crisis shows its importance to President Trump, saying the senior White House adviser, “has total access to the president.”

“I think her appointment represents a very significant commitment from the president himself and his White House team,” Sessions said.

Sessions mentioned Conway as he was announcing how  the Trump administration will move to combat the opioid crisis, including announcing $12 million in grants. Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency last month.

Conway is currently being investigated by the White House Special Counsel for allegedly violating the Hatch Act by speaking out against Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones while in her capacity as a White House official.

This story was updated at 10:50 a.m. Thursday.