Melania Trump heading to West Virginia to discuss opioid epidemic

Melania Trump heading to West Virginia to discuss opioid epidemic
© Stefani Reynolds

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE is visiting Huntington, W.Va., on Monday to discuss the opioid epidemic with state and local leaders.

The first lady's office said she will meet with smaller community groups to listen to their testimonials and learn about resources offered to residents.  

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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is also visiting Huntington on Monday to meet with local law enforcement and political leaders on the opioid epidemic.

The agency did not say whether McAleenan is joining the first lady on parts or all of her visit, but he is expected to meet with Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGaetz: Some lawmakers reviewed transcript at White House On The Money: Trump takes aim at China in UN address | Consumer confidence fell as trade tensions rose | Senate proposes billion for Trump border wall Senate proposes billion for Trump border wall MORE (R-W.Va.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Fallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later MORE (D-W.Va.).

The first lady has made tackling opioid abuse one of the key pillars of her "Be Best" initiative and has visited multiple hospitals and community centers focused on combating the problem.

She previously visited Lily's Place, an infant recovery center that helps families dealing with addiction, during an October 2017 trip to West Virginia.

The Mountain State has been at the center of the opioid epidemic in recent years, according to federal data.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that West Virginia has the highest age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving opioids. The state had the highest percentage of deaths per 100,000 persons of anywhere in the country in 2017.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency to free up additional resources to combat the epidemic, which claimed the lives of nearly 50,000 Americans in 2017.

Updated at 10:34 a.m.