Historically, Town Halls have come to represent large conversations on topics that are shaping our nation. And true to form, one of the most high profile examples of that is the 55-minute opioid forum that was broadcast across local affiliate stations and the world wide web this week. One of the reasons that the 2019 Opioid Town Hall has received so much publicity is because the First Lady of the United States is the prominent featured speaker. Melania Trump spoke openly about the deadliness of addiction and what her husband’s administration is hoping to do to combat it.
Streamed out of Las Vegas via Sinclair Broadcasting, the event was hosted by news commentator Eric Bolling. For the past several years, Bolling himself has become a prominent recovery advocate; opening up about the accidental overdose that took the life of his 19-year-old son. Leading into the conversation, Bolling shared a firsthand account of finding out your child has fatally OD’d.
“In 2017, I had the worst phone call that a parent could ever wish for,” Bolling tearfully explained from the stage. “It was a late night phone call from a girl crying, who happened to be my son’s girlfriend. My first words to her were, ‘Kaley is he alive?’ And she said no. At that moment, my wife and I dove into a depth that was unimaginable.”
After his brave confessional, Bolling shared some of the latest statistics related to the opioid epidemic. Alarming new data showed the states where overdoses were increasing (displayed below) and national painkiller prescription rates.
Then it was the First Lady’s turn to take the stage. Melania spoke for a good portion of the Town Hall, encouraging everyday people to help put a dent in the crisis.
“I think it so important that we are here talking about it,” she told the crowd. “I think it should be on everyone’s mind and in the front pages of the newspapers. Hopefully people watching this will go home and talk with their children as well. We need to educate them to become responsible adults and show them how drugs can be dangerous.”
After Mrs. Trump’s speech, several other notable figures took the stage. Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton explained how the crisis personally touched his life, as did religious leader Jerry Falwell Jr. There was also an appearance from DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon, who spoke about some of the progress being made to stop more habits from forming.
We definitely recommend watching the Town Hall in full for the complete experience. You can see the entire event via the clip below.