NEW: First lady Melania Trump attends ‘major’ opioid briefing


First lady Melania Trump attended an opioid meeting that President Donald Trump described as a “major briefing,” after announcing her plans Tuesday morning on Twitter.

The meeting happened Tuesday afternoon at Trump’s home at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, and featured several top administration officials including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, The Washington Post reported.

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» READ: The Palm Beach Post’s award-winning coverage of the opioid epidemic

“Opioids are destroying our youth/people. Mtg w @Potus & @SecPriceMD today to give my support to #STOPDRUGADDICTION,” the first lady tweeted.

The first lady’s attendance at today’s meeting is her latest effort to focus on issues that affect children, her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in an email.

“Opioid abuse is an escalating health crisis affecting countless families across the country,” Grisham said. “The well-being of children is a priority for the First Lady, and this epidemic affects them in many different ways so she requested to attend today’s briefing.”

» PHOTOS: Melania Trump and Peng Liyuan at Bak Middle School of the Arts

The briefing comes in the wake of a report issued last week by Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, in which committee members implored the president to declare a national emergency around the opioid crisis.

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” commission members said in the report. “After September 11th, our President and our nation banded together to use every tool at our disposal to prevent any further American deaths. Your declaration would empower your cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding and empowering the Executive Branch even further to deal with this loss of life.”

Melania Trump has made several trips to children’s hospitals since her husband took office in January. She read Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” to children at a New York City hospital in March, and visited children at hospitals in Rome and Paris while on White House trips there.

» FLASHBACK: Melania Trump visits girls at HomeSafe in Lake Worth

She also has brought her interest in children’s issues to Palm Beach County, where in April she made a surprise visit to HomeSafe, a Lake Worth group home for victims of domestic violence. About two weeks before that, she took China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, for a tour of Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.

As Trump’s briefing takes place in New Jersey, Palm Beach County and state officials are holding a roundtable at Palm Beach State College to discuss the opioid crisis.



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