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First lady Melania Trump thanks Congress for efforts in opioid fight

By Clyde Hughes
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First lady Melania Trump thanks Congress for efforts in opioid fight
First lady Melania Trump participates Wednesday in a discussion on the opioid crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- First lady Melania Trump made a rare solo trip to Capitol Hill Wednesday to thank Congress for its work on a law that increases access to opioid abuse treatment.

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, whose state is one of the hardest hit by the crisis, joined the first lady at the event.

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The event started Red Ribbon Week, a national awareness campaign designed to improve Americans' knowledge of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse and violence.

"A year ago, you passed and our administration signed into law the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act," Melania Trump said. "Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, is an area I have focused on and this act provides support to mothers and their infants born with NAS."

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"I have traveled to some of the areas hardest hit by drug abuse and I have seen the devastating effects that this crisis has on families and children," she added. "This is why the SUPPORT Act is so important. It provides the necessary tools to fight this crisis."

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 70,000 people died of overdoses in the United States in 2017, making it the leading cause of injury-related deaths. Nearly 70 percent involved opioids.

"It will take all of us working together from the White House down to local communities to end this crisis and help those seeking recovery," Manchin tweeted.

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The first lady also touted the semiannual National Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, a national event that allows people to return unused opioids for disposal. The last takeback collected nearly 1 million pounds of prescription drugs.

"There is no room for illegal drugs in our schools & communities," she tweeted earlier. "I encourage youth to take the pledge this week & choose to live drug free."

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