Melania Trump meets with families affected by opioid withdrawal in newborns

Melania Trump meets with families affected by opioid withdrawal in newborns
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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 and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday met with families affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition that afflicts babies exposed to opioids in the womb.

The meeting took place in Philadelphia, where Trump and Azar toured a neonatal intensive care unit.

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“There are few things harder than seeing a newborn suffering,” Trump said at the meeting, according to a White House press pool transcript. “I am anxious to do all I can to help shine a light on this.”

Wednesday’s visit was part of Trump’s “Be Best” initiative, a public awareness campaign that focuses on children. She has taken an interest in NAS, and has visited hospitals in Tennessee and Ohio that treat babies experiencing opioid withdrawal.

The number of babies born with NAS has increased in the U.S. as the opioid epidemic grows. A baby is born with signs of NAS every 15 minutes in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Babies born with NAS experience withdrawal shortly after birth, caused by exposure to opioids in the womb.

Trump’s visit comes after her husband signed into law a bill that attempts to tackle the opioid epidemic through prevention, law enforcement and treatment.

“I am proud of the administration’s continued efforts in fighting opioid addiction,” Trump said Wednesday in Philadelphia, according to prepared remarks. “As the caretakers of the next generation, it is our responsibility to protect our most valuable and vulnerable, our children.”