Liberty University, students prepare for first lady Melania Trump's visit

First lady, several others will discuss opioid epidemic. Event starts Wed. 7 a.m

By Magdala Louissaint - Lynchburg Bureau Reporter

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Mary Estes is from a small town in South Carolina where the opioid issue hits home for her.

"I have some relatives that struggle with it and I think it's a big issue, and I think if you have an opportunity to do something about it, you should," Estes, a senior at Liberty University, said.

She and other Liberty students are excited for first lady Melania Trump's visit to campus Wednesday.

In a town hall forum, Melania and Liberty President Jerry Falwell, alongside several others, will discuss the opioid epidemic the country is facing.

"It makes me a proud student to know that they're taking initiative to help solve the problem," Brosnan Long, a freshmen, said.

According to Virginia Department of Health there were more than 500 overdoses for prescription opioid in 2017. Ages 35 to 44 was the highest group where the Commonwealth saw overdose deaths with prescription pills.

"It's a huge problem that needs to be addressed and it's nice to see that it's getting addressed," Long said.

The event is open to the public. Doors open at 7 a.m. School leaders have asked people to park in the public parking garage on campus, and they're expecting about 13,000 people.

Be prepared to have your bags checked. Security will be handled by the Secret Service and people will go through metal detectors.

Estes said after Wednesday's conversation she hopes other universities will follow suit in addressing the opioid issue. And as for her campus she said, "and us here on campus as a community we're able to reach out to others, see if there's any way that we can advocate more for them."

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