First Lady Melania Trump spoke to students at Virginia’s Liberty University on Wednesday, November 28, and shed light on the opioid crisis in the United States.
According to an article by BP News, Mrs. Trump urged students to make wise choices when they are still young.
“I know college is a time to build your independence, experience things on your own terms and make decisions on your own behalf,” she said. “I am here to remind you that some of those decisions, though they may seem minor at the time, could negatively impact you for the rest of your lives.”
Addressing the opioid crisis is part of the first lady’s “Be Best” initiative, one that is aimed at helping young people in America. The other two pillars of the initiative include social media use and personal well-being.
Mrs. Trump also took to her Instagram account, posting a video clip from the event where she talked about the crisis.
“I’m here speaking to you in my official capacity as first lady, but I want you to know that I’m also here as a mother,” she told students. However, instead of coming off as authoritative, Mrs. Trump reminded students that she wouldn’t lecture them about the dangers of drug abuse like most mothers do.
Instead, she said that she will tell them what she had learned in the past year in her position, because she believes that education and learning is the key to making the right decisions.
Mrs. Trump shared how her initiative taught her that people often become addicted to drugs unintentionally, and that even something as innocent as an injury can also lead to addiction.
Per the article, statistics by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that in 2016 and 2017, more than 17,000 people died due to drug overdose — often via commonly prescribed drugs. Statistics further revealed that more than 130 deaths occur each day due to overdosing on opioids.
“I have learned that many people who become addicted to drugs that are too ashamed to ask for help and I have learned that addiction is a disease and people need and deserve treatment.”
The first lady also underscored the importance of viewing the issue of addiction as part of “a human story and an opportunity to save lives” rather than as mere statistics, the report said. She further urged students to seek help if they — or someone they know — is battling with addiction, so that the stigma attached to the crisis can be eliminated for the greater good of the nation.
“I believe that as the next generation, we have the potential to not just reduce but eliminate the statistics I mentioned earlier,” she concluded.
During her speech, Mrs. Trump also discussed the issue of cyber-bullying, as earlier reported by the Inquisitr, and said the following.
“I will do what is right for the next generation and to be focused on helping how to use it and how much to use it — the social media…So, [the] next generation can be respectful and kind and also sometimes you need to fight back.”