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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate Melania Trump receives university's 'Woman of Distinction' award amid pushback from students 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.  

ADVERTISEMENT

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 CapitoTrump hammers Manchin over impeachment vote Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle Democrat Richard Ojeda announces Senate bid after dropping out of presidential race MORE (R-W.Va.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Overnight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit 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 TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration 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.