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 TrumpEx-Melania Trump adviser raised concerns of excessive inauguration spending weeks before events: CNN The Hill's Morning Report - Trump moves green cards, citizenship away from poor, low-skilled White House seeks volunteers, musicians for Christmas celebrations 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 CapitoAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects MORE (R-W.Va.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws 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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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.