US First Lady Melania Trump has called the opioid epidemic the “worst drug crisis” in American history, as she urged more public attention to it.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Trump talked about the importance of understanding the severe and fatal effects of opioids and eliminating the stigma surrounding drug dependence, reports Xinhua news agency.
She said “opioid addiction is an illness that has truly taken hold of our country” while calling for more public discussion about the epidemic so that people can get help.
President Donald Trump’s administration has declared a “national health emergency” in the wake of the crisis.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people in the US die each day due to overdosing on opioids.
In 2017, the overdoses accounted for more than 72,000 deaths, more than any previous year on record.
U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrived Saturday in Cairo, Egypt, where she was greeted at an arrival ceremony by President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and his wife, Entissar Mohameed Amer.
After a visit to the presidential palace and a stop at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, the first lady visited the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Egypt is Melania Trump’s last stop on a four-nation tour of Africa that also included a visit to Kenya, where she visited two orphanages, one for children and the other for elephants.
Trump stopped by the elephant orphanage on a visit to Nairobi National Park, a nature preserve located just a few kilometers south of the Kenyan capital.
Park rangers told the first lady about steps Kenya is taking to conserve the elephant and rhino populations, which have been decimated by poachers. Another 11 rhinos died in July from drinking salty water after a transfer to a new Kenyan sanctuary.
A new Chinese-built railroad running through the park also has been a source of controversy. The project, which split the park in two, was backed by the government over the objections of conservationists who complained of inadequate environmental impact studies.
On Friday, Trump fed a baby elephant using a giant bottle, then got a small bump from another pachyderm as she tried to administer another feeding
During a 90-minute tour of the park, where she caught glimpses of hippos, a giraffe and other animals, Trump got out of the car to look at an ivory burn site, where the material has been destroyed to discourage the trade in elephant tusks.
After the visit to the park, Trump visited a Nairobi orphanage known as The Nest, which cares mainly for children whose parents have been incarcerated.
Trump’s first-ever visit to Africa and her first extended solo international trip as first lady have included visits to Ghana and Malawi.
She will depart Egypt for the U.S. later Saturday, capping a tour to highlight child welfare, education, tourism and conservation.
Trump’s visit includes promoting the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the funding of which President Donald Trump has twice proposed slashing by nearly a third. Lawmakers, however, have not approved those requests. (VOA)