First lady Melania Trump, federal officials visit Lynchburg, talk about opioid crisis

In an open forum, students asked national leaders how to solve this crisis

LYNCHBURG, Va. – First lady Melania Trump was welcomed at Liberty University’s campus Wednesday.

Mrs. Trump and federal officials with Homeland Security and Health and Human Services all wanted to educate Liberty students on the opioid epidemic the country faces.

In an open forum, students asked national leaders how to solve this crisis.

One of them, nursing student Molly Burr, said the government resources should focus more on addiction as a mental illness than a physical illness.

“You see people ... it’s addiction, it’s a mental illness and it’s something you can’t quit cold turkey," Burr said.

Burr said learning that the first lady visits hospitals where babies are born with addictions is a step in the right direction. 

“I loved her stance on the neonatal abstinence syndrome that is a real thing. Babies are being born addicted. I think it’s something the general population doesn’t quite understand,” Burr said.

Others joining the conversation, university President Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife.

Falwell said the school has taken proactive steps to deal with overdoses on campus by having Narcan available to reverse an overdose.

“If there is an overdose we can treat it,” Falwell said.

Overall, Burr said the forum was informative and she hopes students will learn to say something if they see something.

“I hope they understand that this is something that should not be taken lightly and it’s not something that’s affecting other people. It’s affecting everyone,” Burr said.