White House highlights administration’s anti-opioid efforts

WASHINGTON  — The White House hosted a summit to highlight the Trump administration efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

First lady Melania Trump opened Thursday’s event in the White House East Room. Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, moderated a two-hour discussion featuring officials from the departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, State, Justice and Homeland Security.

The officials gave an update to the country on how they are tackling the epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids – including prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl – killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record.

Trump last fall declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty [against drug dealers]. The ultimate penalty,” Trump said. “And by the way they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”