U.S. politics are certainly in the midst of an explosive time. But beyond the debates and strife between the parties, we did want to call out a movement that the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Melania Trump are spearheading to combat the nation’s addiction crisis. Last week the First Lady put out her own Public Service Announcement on the topic; highlighting a new #BeDrugFree hashtag. Not surprisingly, though, even that statement has created quite a bit of divisiveness.
First, regarding the message itself. Initially broadcast via Twitter, Mrs. Trump’s message clocked in at just under three minutes. The First Lady begins with a call out to parents, highlighting the drug and alcohol temptations facing young people across the U.S. The theme was also tied around the October movement of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.
“Each October, we recognize the importance of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month,” Mrs. Trump explained in the PSA clip. “In my time as First Lady, I have worked to raise awareness about the risks and dangers among America’s youth. It’s important that we support our next generation and teach them about the dangers of drug use.”
Jim Carroll, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, also appears in the clip. His words were mostly of praise for the Trump family and their dedication to helping combat addiction issues across the country. Here, though, is where quite a bit of controversy and backlash stems. Many major news outlets cried foul after watching that portion of the clip; claiming that President Donald Trump was unsympathetic toward dependency issues in his recent debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.
During that forum, President Trump mocked Biden’s son Hunter for a cocaine habit he battled (and ultimately overcame). Donald Trump Jr. was also criticized, as he publicly labeled the younger Biden “Crackhead Hunter” across social media.
So, in essence, this latest move by the White House has created a lot of mixed reactions. On the one hand, there is appreciation that the First Lady continues to make addiction one of her main talking points and is going the extra mile to promote awareness via her #BeDrugFree hashtag. But, there is also universal agreement that the President and his family should take a more sympathetic approach towards people who are suffering and not stigmatize those who have overcome the disease.
You can see Melania’s full clip below and draw your own conclusions…
This October I am honoring National Substance Use Prevention Month by joining @ONDCP to highlight the dedicated efforts of our Nation’s youth to encourage healthy drug-free lives. Share how you are helping your community using #BeDrugFree – we look forward to hearing from you! pic.twitter.com/DiMTCsk9Si
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 1, 2020