First lady headlines town hall to help solve the nation's opioid epidemic

FILE - First lady Melania Trump attends a ceremony to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia hosted a Town Hall event Wednesday, with the headliner, First Lady, Melania Trump. The event addressed the nation's ongoing opioid epidemic.

The event was hosted by world renown television personality, Eric Bolling. Bolling and his wife Adrienne lost their son to an accidental opioid overdose. Since then, Bolling has been on the front lines, battling the Opioid Crisis in America.

The town hall will be distributed to all of Sinclair Broadcast Group's stations and digital platforms. This event reinforces Sinclair Broadcast Group's commitment to impactful reporting that will help local communities stop the growth of this epidemic. Sinclair is a news organization that is committed to making a difference by exposing problems, asking tough questions, and working on possible solutions.

Between 2016 and 2017 nearly 42,000 people died from overdoes according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. The department later issued a public health emergency and five-point strategy to help combat the crisis. During that time the U.S. saw approximately 130 deaths every day from and opioid-related overdoes. However, HHS said that the number of people that struggle with an opioid use disorder is closer to 2.1 million people.

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Wednesday's town hall discussed solutions to help solve the opioid addictions problem in America.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 times more potent than morphine, according to an HHS report.

"Fentanyl is approved in a variety of products for indications including the management of surgical/postoperative pain, as well as severe chronic pain, and breakthrough cancer pain in patients that are already opioid-tolerant," the report stated.

Bolling held an "intimate and important one-on-one discussion" with the first lady about the epidemic.

The first lady has worked to address the crisis as part of her "Be Best" initiative aimed at helping children confront major issues facing children in America; while also encouraging positive social, emotional, and physical habits.

Other guests included Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

This town hall will stream on all Sinclair Broadcast Group websites Nov. 28 at 7p EST. It will also air on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations during the weekend of Dec.1 and Dec. 2, check your local listings for times.

In San Antonio, the program will air on WOAI-TV on November 30 at 2:07am CT.

Editors note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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