Drug Abuse

Remarks by President Trump at Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit | Atlanta, GA – Whitehouse.gov

remarks-by-president-trump-at-rx-drug-abuse-and-heroin-summit-atlanta-ga-whitehouse-gov

Hyatt Regency
Atlanta, Georgia

1:45 p.m. EDT

MRS. TRUMP: Thank you, Congressman Rogers. It is an honor to be with you. We are meeting today to address an issue that is close to our hearts: saving the Americans from the disease of opioid addiction.

Before I start, I want to thank law enforcement officers for everything they do to protect us every day. (Applause.) They are all heroes, and this administration will always honor your life-saving work.

In my role as First Lady, my main focus was on combating the terrible consequences of the opioid epidemic for our children and young mothers. I have seen first hand both the medical and personal outcomes of this crisis. I have visited hospitals and treatment centers across the country. I have met doctors, nurses, mothers and children.

We will continue to raise awareness of the dangers of opioids for unborn babies. We are also committed to supporting more treatment facilities that help both mothers and babies recover and to replace the bond of addiction with the bond of love between mother and child.

Last year I was grateful for the opportunity to send a video message to the children visiting Operation UNITE's incredible summer camp. As I told them, I started an initiative to encourage young Americans to "be the best." Combating the opioid epidemic is one of the three pillars of this initiative. I am proud of this government's historic approach to tackling this crisis.

Together, we are making real strides to help people recover, support families, and heal our nation. My husband is here today because he cares very much about what you do to help the millions of Americans affected by the opioid epidemic.

This afternoon he has an important message to share. Dear Sir or Madam, It is a pleasure for me to introduce the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. (Applause)

THE PRESIDENT: We love this song, but let's get started. Right?

I want to thank you all, and especially I want to thank Melania – she works so hard – and these moving words, even if she comes from your wife, which is why she may be a bit biased in this regard. But I will say that she is a hard worker and is deeply committed to building a drug-free future for America's children. We'll do it too. We will do it. (Applause.) Much progress has been made.

Today, I am honored to join the thousands of leaders – and that is you: leaders – from across the country for the Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit 2019. Very important. Everyone here agrees today: to free our American compatriots from drug addiction and to end the opioid crisis once and for all. (Applause.) It happens. It happens. Happens.

I would like to recognize the founder of Operation UNITE for his unwavering community service, for his incredible commitment and for dealing with this critical issue: Congressman Hal Rogers. A friend of mine for a long time. And I want to thank you very much, Hal, wherever you are. (Applause.) Thank you. Thanks, Hal. Well done. Very committed guy.

We are also grateful to Operation UNITE's President and CEO, Nancy Hale. (Applause.) Thank you, Nancy.

And thanks also to an excellent official who works day and night. No matter when I need it, it's there. I call him at the strangest hours. He is always there and works. Secretary Alex Azar. It's really great, Alex, what you're doing. (Applause.) Thank you.

And CDC administrator Dr. Robert Redfield, who will help us eradicate HIV / AIDS by 2030. And we are there; we will. People are shocked. Please get up, doctor. So important. (Applause.) I said that in a recent speech: We will eradicate AIDS by 2030. We have made incredible progress. And they didn't know what I was talking about. You couldn't believe it. You came up to me after the speech, Doctor. They said, "Do you mean that?" That's right – we'll have it wiped out by 2030. Thank you very much, doctor. Very important.

Also with us is the Vice Governor of this great state, a friend of mine and a man who – he worked so hard with Brian. The combination of Jeff Duncan and Brian was almost unbeatable. You are doing a great job. Jeff, thank you very much. Jeff, where are you? Jeff? (Applause.) Jeff, thanks. Get up, Jeff. Well done. Really great job. And Ms. Duncan, thank you very much.
And the Attorney General of Georgia, Chris Carr. Chris, thank you. (Applause.) Tough guy. And he's in there and fighting for us. I know that.

As well as Congress members: Rick Allen, Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice. We have them all. We have them all. (Applause.) It's a pretty unbeatable group. We did well together, didn't we? Huh? We're fine.

All the people in this room who serve on the borders and fronts of this crisis every day – and this is a crisis – have earned the gratitude of our entire nation. You may not even know it, but our nation loves you and they love what you do. Thank you very much. (Applause)

They are the first responders who bring patients back to life. They are the law enforcement officers who bring drug dealers to justice. They are the doctors, nurses and advisors who give citizens hope, comfort and strength to build an ever better future. And you are the families and denominations that help thousands of Americans overcome the addiction to a new life in freedom.

My administration uses all resources available to enable you to support you and to fight directly at your side. And that's exactly what we do.

We won't resolve this epidemic overnight, but we will stop – nothing will stop us no matter how you fight it. I know some people in this room. Nothing is stopping you. Nothing is stopping you, I can tell you.

We will never stop until our work is done, and then we may have to find something new. And I hope that it will happen soon. But we will make it. We have incredible results. Numbers that I heard two weeks ago that shocked me. We are making tremendous progress.

Every year, more than 70,000 valuable American people die from the opioid and drug crisis. And in my opinion the number is much higher.

To protect all Americans, my government declared the opioid epidemic a nationwide public health emergency. A big step. Since then, we've received record $ 6 billion in funding to fight the opioid crisis, and it's the largest ever. And we're going to go for bigger numbers this year. (Applause)

Last year we committed $ 90 million to prevent drug abuse among adolescents, and I signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act – the largest legislative effort to combat so far one drug crisis in our country’s history. It is the greatest ever.

On the recommendation of my general surgeon and many others, the distribution of the overdose reversal drug naloxone increased by over a million units last year. Pretty amazing stuff.

To expand access to treatment, recovery, and other important activities and services across our country, we have granted states a total of $ 2 billion in opioid grants.

We are now allowing states to use Medicaid funds to pay for inpatient treatment facilities, and they are being built across the country. In my first year in office, the number of patients receiving drug treatment in community health centers increased by 64 percent. No other president has done that. No other president. We have no choice. We have no choice. (Applause)

We passed the CRIB Act to expand treatment for mothers and their babies who were born physically addicted to opioids.

We're improving pain therapy for our nation's veterans, as more than 43,000 veterans have had fewer opioids since January 2017. Remember – 43,000. (Applause.) Twenty-three thousand [Forty-three thousand].

And by the way, they have been trying for the veterans for 45 years. As you know, I recently signed Veterans Choice on where a veteran can go, and if the wait is days, weeks, or months – as before – see a private doctor. (Applause.) Watch out immediately. We pay for it. We take care of this. And it was incredible – it is new and it was incredible, the difference it made.

And a few months ago I converted the reform of the cross-party criminal justice system into a law. (Applause.) The FIRST Step Act provides, among other things, addiction treatment for Americans in prison.

And I am happy to report that more than 16,000 inmates are taking part in a new drug treatment in just four months. (Applause.) And criminal law reform – I have to say, people come out of prison. And since our inception, they have had an impossible time finding a job. But because our economy is going so well, it is perhaps the best that has ever been in our history – the best unemployment figures in history, preferably everything. For this reason – (applause) – the exiting prisoners register. You get jobs. And I can tell you that these employers – because I speak to many of them – are enthusiastic. They had no idea. I'm so proud of that.

So the big economy made it a lot easier. You get out and then have to prove yourself. You never had a chance to prove yourself. Now they are proving themselves and doing a spectacular job. Not all of them, but none of us have “everything”. But they're doing a spectacular job.

I want to thank you all. And I would like to thank you – Congressman, I would like to thank you for helping me with this because you were very authoritative. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. (Applause)

The Department of Labor is expanding federal efforts to support the recovery of Americans in the search for great work in our emerging economy.

As a result of our historic economic boom, we are raising all Americans from all walks of life, including those who have suffered the pain of addiction. You get a second and third, and in some cases, a fourth chance. And they can do it. You can do this. And they really have something to live for. Some of them say, “We love getting up in the morning. We love to work. We love our job. "And if they don't like the job because of the events, it's a miracle. They talk all over the world about what happened to our economy. If they don't like their job, they have a choice, like the vets. You have a choice. It is a choice to go out and find another job that they like better. Great impact.

Last year, 73 percent of new jobs went to people who were unemployed and now working again for the first time in many years. (Applause.) And these newly hired citizens are joining 5.5 million more workers who have found work since the elections, driving our national unemployment rate to its lowest level in 51 years.

And, as you know, and you've heard it from me, African American unemployment: lowest in our country's history. Asian-American unemployment: lowest in our country's history. Unemployment in Latin America: lowest in our country's history.

People who do not have a high school degree – this is a large group – the lowest in the history of our country. Women – sorry – the lowest in 61 years. (Laughter) But we'll have the recording soon. (Applause.) We'll have the recording soon. We will also have this record.

We are all Americans. We are all family. And we know that we are strongest when no one is left behind.

My government is committed to ensuring that every citizen can live with dignity and intention and proudly pursue the American dream.

Crucial to these efforts is my administration's strong support for faith-based initiatives. (Applause.) America is a nation that believes in the power of prayer and the power of community, and we believe in God's grace. And we are proud of it. (Applause)

Here with us today is Dr. Monty Burks. Monty turned his life nineteen years ago when two prayer women from his home community helped him find a way to recovery. Now Monty works for what a great state, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and is the director of the faith-based recovery initiative.

Monty, please, come and tell us something about your work. (Applause.)
DR. BURKS: Awe, honor and humiliated. The opposite of addiction is relationship. This simple equation helped me find my freedom. The intervention of the criminal justice system led to treatment that recovered me and put me on this podium.

I was blessed to serve under Commissioner Williams – and Commissioner Varney before. They took a chance against a broken and injured person who had been touched by the system, but they knew I had a purpose, and my purpose was to use the pain I had been through to help other people help not having to go through the same thing that I had been through.

You see, recovery is real. We are recovering. We are recovering. (Applause.) For me, the paradigm changes with the religious community. Our governor, Bill Lee, supports the faith community as a catalyst for change, narrative control, and explaining how people and recovery can be fruitful and change the paradigm itself in their own communities. (Applause)

Employers trust the religious community. We work not only for a job, but also for a career so that we can go back and lead as peers, so that those who wept behind us in the wilderness have a second chance to stand in front of a podium like this and you to say yes, recovery is real. We are recovering. (Applause)

Secretary Azar, thank you for working with HHS and the Faith-Based Cooperation Office with Shannon Royce and Heidi. And they spread the word and message about faith-based recovery and treatment across the state. Today it is my pulpit, and I have to say that: someone in a program is listening to me and saying, “I can because you did it. I can because he did it. "That's right. Yes, you can. Look in the mirror. There is your miracle.

I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for providing me with this space. I want to thank God for you and the First Lady and your support for the recovery community. Thank you very much. (Applause)

THE PRESIDENT: Wow, that's great, Monty. And he had written this beautiful speech on his iPhone – that's the new way of doing it – (laughter) – and he never even looked at it. (Laughter) It's a pretty good job. Thank you very much, Monty. Am grateful. Fantastic.

My government has also made unprecedented efforts to shut down online criminal networks, fight illegal international broadcasts, and stop the lethal drug flow into our country.

In the past two years, the seizures of meth, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in customs and border protection on the southern border have increased by 45 percent and are much higher. We take care of everything. You probably saw the numbers today. We're holding on, catching more people than ever – let's call it what you want it to be. Some of these people are not people we want in our country.

And I will say Border Patrol was incredible. There has never been a march across the border in all of Mexico. Mexico is beginning to hold them back and bring them back to the country they came from. But much of it is drugs, and we get drugs. We stop the flow of drugs as much as possible. Soon we will have a wall that will be a very powerful wall. It is under construction. The media don't like to talk about it. (Applause.) The media don't like to talk about it. It is one of many things we do.

But when this wall is finished, we plan to build nearly 400 miles of wall by the end of next year. We are probably a little earlier than planned. It will have a huge impact on the drugs that come to our country.

And we have many other things, including the best equipment you can buy. Hundreds of millions of dollars for the best drug detection equipment you can have. And I always say the following: Because as good as this equipment is – and that's awesome – the best equipment in the world is a dog. (Applause.) Dogs – especially a certain type of German Shepherd. Dogs do a better job than $ 400 million in equipment. Can you belive that? Only the dog lover would understand that, right? (Applause.) No, that's right.

I recently said to the border police – they gave me a little overview of the equipment. And you know there are hundreds – we have nearly $ 500 million worth of equipment in the ports of entry. I said, "How is that compared to those great dogs I've seen?" They say, "Sir, frankly, the dogs are better." (Laughter) I said, "You're kidding." It is incredible and she showed me and it is really incredible. But we also have a lot of dogs and they are great dogs and we appreciate them.

Heroin alone kills 300 Americans every week, 90 percent of whom reach our country via the southern border. We do everything we can to strengthen ourselves so that we can keep this poison out of our communities and from our children. You will notice some very, very big differences in the coming months. We catch people you wouldn't believe.

And if you remember when I announced this famous run when I came down – I'm sure nobody saw this. When I came down the escalator with Melania and her white dress – I don't think anyone saw that – (laughter), but I made a very strong statement about the border and was criticized. They said, "Oh, it's not that bad." Well, let me tell you, this statement was peanut compared to reality. Peanuts. It was a small time compared to reality.

But we face reality and the severe security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border. And that's why I declared a national emergency, and that's exactly what it is. (Applause)

And we've secured historical means to strengthen border security, including equipment, including the wall, including other border guards – including many other things you don't even need to know and some you don't want to know.

Congress must also act to fix our terrible, outdated, weak, and miserable immigration laws. (Applause.) We could solve the whole problem – I say "45 minutes", but it could go much faster; Let us cut it down to 15 minutes – if the Democrats agreed to do certain basic, reasonable things about our laws.

And I think pressure is put on them and I think some of them really want to do the right thing. I spoke to some recently and you might be surprised at what will happen. But they see what's going on at the border. It is very easy to see. And they see the drugs and they see human trafficking. Human trafficking has – it's like never before in our history. And that's a world problem and it happens all over the world, but for us it's through the southern border.

Today we are grateful to be supported by Tom Murphy, Virginia State Police senior special agent, who has been persecuting drug traffickers for decades. In recent years there has been an increase in cheap heroin from Mexico, which is now being treated with ultra-lethal fentanyl.

Tragically, Special Agent Murphy's son died a year and a half ago from an overdose of this deadly drug. And it is deadly.

Special Agent Murphy, America's heart breaks for you and for all families who have suffered so unnecessarily. No other family should experience the pain and grief you have suffered.

Would you come to say a few words, please? Please, special agent. Thank you very much. (Applause)

SPECIAL AGENT MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. President and First Lady, for this time and opportunity to speak. Hal has touched my life and that of my family, both professionally and personally.

I worked for the Virginia State Police for 31 years and was in the Narcotics Department's Drug Administration for 23 years. I was sitting in your seat at this conference four years ago. When I was here four years ago, my son Jason was fighting drug addiction.

Its history is too common today. He grew up with ADD, depression and at a young age with medication. Before he was 18, he started treating himself with marijuana. He knew he had to move out of the house when he was 18 because dad is dad and dad is a cop, and you can't do that at home.

Well, on his 18th birthday – the day he turned 18 – he moved out of our house. He would tell me later that it is the worst decision he has ever made in his life.

When he did this, about a year or two later, he had an occupational injury in which he separated four fingers from his hand. He was introduced to opioids, which was my biggest fear. I would see him in the city, and my wife – you could see his physical decline. He was arrested a few times for possession and distribution to continue his habit.

Twelve days before Christmas – (Applause) – on December 13, 2017, 12 days before Christmas, he died of an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.

There is talk of stigmatization of opioids, heroin and drugs. There is a stigma and the stigma has to stop. (Applause)

If you want to think about stigmatization, think of a family that has gone through it professionally and personally. And my family has. And that's just a 70,000 family in 2017 who lost a loved one due to opioids and heroin.

The stigma must stop. You have to share your story. Since the death of my son, I've been wearing two bracelets every day. There is a purple bracelet on my right wrist to honor those who have had an overdose of drugs. It has its name and date and birth and date of death. I have two on my left wrist: a thin blue line and another that simply says: "Every overdose is a child of someone. Don't judge. Educate." (Applause)

That's why we're here and why you're here. You have taken the first initiative, perhaps when you are here for the first time, to work together, brainstorm, develop strategies and solve this problem together. But the message I want to convey today is: don't judge. There were 70,000 different stories that happened in 2017. You heard my son's. His name was Matthew Jason Murphy. Thank you very much. (Applause)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. You know, I think I can say with certainty that your son, your boy, is looking down on you right now and that he is very proud of his father. Very very proud. Thank you very much. (Applause)

We are making great strides to prevent fentanyl from entering our communities. As a result of my negotiations with President Xi of China, who has a very large trade agreement, they have announced that they will take new measures to prevent Chinese fentanyl next week – which is most of it. Almost everything Fentanyl comes from China – from shipping to the USA. (Applause)

And besides – and I appreciate that from President Xi – they agreed that they will make it a serious crime. It is not a crime now. It is like an industrial drug. And they will make it a crime and they will accuse people of the highest level of crime. And in China, the highest crime rate is very, very high compared to our country. It is the ultimate. You pay the final price. I appreciate very much.

Since I legally signed the STOP Act, our amazing customs and border guards have prevented more than six times more packages from reaching American doors. It's a big deal.

Right here in Georgia, customs and border guards in Savannah Seaport recently discovered an estimated $ 19 million in cocaine in a shipment of Colombian pineapples.

Today we are proud to be supported by two officers who helped search for these deadly drugs: James Long and Derrick Nobles. And thank you both for your brave work. Where are you guys Where are they? Come on. Come up Imagine. (Applause.) Please.

OFFICER LONG: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I thank you all for having us here. Thanks again for your support. It has been a long way and we are happy to have the President behind us. I am glad that you are all behind us on the law enforcement side and in the community, because you are all our greatest help in the search for this topic. It's like finding a needle in a haystack most days.

Thanks again every day for your support. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks to both of you. Well done. So many incredible people I met to do exactly what you do.

To all customs and border guards, DEA agents, and state and local law enforcement agencies who are here today: We love you, support you, and are with you all the way. All the Way. (Applause)

You know, we had billions of dollars in military equipment that the previous government, for its own sake, was unwilling to stop prosecuting. And I decided we should do it. It was beautiful, great, strong, powerful equipment, safety equipment. You know exactly what I'm talking about. And we've given billions and billions of dollars to law enforcement agencies in the United States.

And it had a huge impact because – I don't know if it's for that reason. Probably not. It's probably because of the great men and women. But the numbers are far below. Crime – at the very bottom. So, thank you everyone. Am grateful. (Applause)

My government is also taking aggressive measures to reduce the oversupply of highly addictive prescription drugs.

The Department of Justice has prosecuted more than 3,000 defendants in cases involving opioids. And earlier this week, the United States filed a lawsuit against the sixth largest drug wholesaler for illicitly distributing opioids – (applause) – for holding large pharmaceutical companies accountable. You should be accountable. (Applause.) And they didn't give my campaign anything. I don't want your money. (Laughter) They gave to many other campaigns; that's the problem. But we hold on to it – I couldn't care less. You have to do what is right. Do a lot of things.

Wir arbeiten auch sehr stark an der Preisgestaltung für Medikamente. Es kommt ganz schön runter. Zum ersten Mal seit 54 Jahren – (Beifall) – sind die Arzneimittelpreise in diesem Jahr gesunken. Sie gingen sogar etwas tiefer. Das ist eine große Sache. Zum ersten Mal seit 54 Jahren. Und das verdanke ich dir, Alex. Sie und Ihre ganze Gruppe wundervoller Menschen. Alex war ein sehr, sehr erfolgreicher Manager in einem der größten Unternehmen, und er verstand das System besser als jeder andere. Und wir haben Glück, ihn zu haben. Er hat einen unglaublichen Job gemacht. Vielen Dank. (Beifall)

Viele Pharmaunternehmen geben europäischen Ländern ein besseres Angebot als ihrem eigenen Land. Und das muss aufhören. Wir haben ihnen bereits mitgeteilt, dass dies beendet wird. Wir sorgen dafür, dass unsere großartigen Medicare-Senioren an den Preisnachlässen für andere Länder teilhaben. (Beifall.) Und Sie wissen, was das bedeutet. Die Raffinierten da draußen, die das für ihren Lebensunterhalt tun, wissen Sie genau – das ist eine große Sache. Klingt nach einer großen Sache, ist aber wirklich eine große Sache.

Endlich hindern wir die Pharmaunternehmen und das Ausland daran, das System zu manipulieren. Ich weiß alles über das Rigging des Systems, weil ich das System auf mich genommen habe. (Gelächter und Applaus.) Ich denke, Sie wissen, wovon ich spreche. Leider ist das heute Abend Ihr Soundbite, aber das ist in Ordnung. (Gelächter.) System wurde manipuliert. Aber das System gegen unsere großen Senioren manipulieren.

Um Ärzten und Wissenschaftlern bei der Entwicklung nicht abhängig machender Schmerzmittel zu helfen, haben wir die Mittel für die Opiat- und Schmerzforschung nahezu verdoppelt. Vielen Dank, Herr Doktor. Komm schon. Stand. (Beifall.) Er verschenkt mehr Geld als jeder Mensch auf der Erde. Vielen Dank. Groß. Solch eine wichtige – wenn wir diese Antwort finden können, wird das eine große sein -, die den größten Teil des Problems lösen wird, vermute ich. Wie nah sind wir? (Gelächter.)

Er sagt: "Okay." (Gelächter.) Du wirst es verstehen. Du wirst es verstehen.

Vor einem Jahr haben wir zugesagt, die bundesweiten Opiatverordnungen um ein Drittel zu kürzen. Bereits während meiner Amtszeit haben wir die verschriebene Opioidmenge um 34 Prozent gesenkt. Das ist eine ziemlich erstaunliche Zahl. (Beifall.) Ziemlich erstaunlich.

And I’m glad to report today that drug overdose deaths are down in the various states that we polled and checked — the ones hardest hit by the opioid crisis: New Hampshire, West Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  And they’re very steeply down in three of those cases.  An amazing achievement.

When I campaigned in those states, that was the biggest thing.  And nobody would think it.  Unless you’re really involved, nobody would think it.

Over the last two years, our National Prescription Drug Take Back Days have collected nearly 3.7 million pounds of prescription drugs.  That’s seven times the weight of Air Force One — a very nice plane that’s parked about 10 minutes away.  (Laughter.)  A very, very big, big, heavy plane.  Think of that: seven times.  And the next drug take back day is this Saturday.  (Applause.)  It’s great.

And finally, we know one of the most important steps to ending the opioid crisis is to prevent young people from ever using drugs in the first place.  (Applause.)  Our massive public awareness campaign about the horrific suffering that drugs inflict has already reached 58 percent of young Americans.

Where’s Kellyanne?  Kellyanne, stand up.  Kellyanne Conway.  She’s done a great job.  (Applause.)  I keep saying, “Kellyanne, where are those ads?”  Because, you know, if you do it properly — and we’ve had some great ones, great ads — young people looking at these ads, they won’t start.  I think, in many ways, you don’t see the result for four or five years, but in many ways, that’s one of the most important things we can be doing.  So we’re doing that and we’re spending a lot of money on that.  I think it’s very important.

When they look out, and somebody comes to them and wants to sell them drugs and they start thinking about what they just saw on television, or wherever they may have seen it, it’s going to be a little harder for them to make that sale, and that’s okay with me.  It’s the way we want it.  (Applause.)

And I’m very encouraged that in my first year in office, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 100,000 fewer teens started abusing prescription painkillers.  One hundred thousand.

Here with us today is Alex Elswick and his mom — wonderful mom — Shelley.  As a young adult, Alex overcame addiction and is now — with his mom, they founded an organization to help families in crisis.

Alex and Shelley, would you come up and share your story? Vielen Dank. Please. (Applause.)

MR. ELSWICK:  Well, good afternoon.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Go Cats!

MR. ELSWICK:  (Laughs.)  Go Cats.

My name is Alex Elswick, and I’m a person in long-term recovery.  (Applause.)  And many of you already knew that, but perhaps what you didn’t know is that this is my mom.  And we’re a family in long-term recovery.  (Applause.)

And I could tell you all about how my addiction was “Groundhog Day” in hell — lived over and over and over again.  But we’ve heard enough of death and destruction for a few years now.  I’d rather tell you how grateful I am to be here and how grateful I am that I get to work every day alongside my mom and my friend, Amanda Fallin-Bennett, doing the work with Voices of Hope to help people in recovery stay in recovery.

And I’d like to use this time to say a big “thank you” to every single individual in this room who works tirelessly every day to improve the lives of people like me.  Because Monty said it best: We do recover and we recover together.

So thank you all for being voices of hope.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And thank you both.  As Alex and Shelley remind us, our greatest resource in the fight against drugs is the heart and the might and the soul of the American people.

We will prevail because of the courage, commitment, and compassion of heroes like all of you in this room today.  You’re incredible people.  You are America’s true source of strength.

So let us resolve that, together, we will support, cherish and care for our fellow citizens through every step and every challenge on their road to recovery.

We will reach out to anyone who is hurting or lost or struggling, because every American deserves to know the glory of hope, the joy of belonging, and the blessings of healing.

We will stand proudly behind our devoted doctors and nurses and medical professionals who work so hard, and they do so much.

We will honor and celebrate the incredible men and women of law enforcement. Vielen Dank. We love our law enforcement. (Applause.)  I don’t know if you know it, but over the last two and half years, law enforcement has become hot. They were having a little problem, right? But they’re hot. People are loving their law enforcement more than ever before because we respect you at the highest level. (Applause.)  We respect you. And the job you do is incredible — and dangerous — but it’s incredible.

We will strive to give every child a loving home, and every home a thriving future.  We will renew the bonds of family and faith that link us together as citizens, as patriots, and as Americans.  We will not let up.  We will not give in.  And we will never, ever give up on saving American lives.  (Applause.)

We will end this terrible menace.  We will smash the grip of addiction.  We will make our cities safe, our communities strong, and our future brighter than ever before.

As one united nation, we will work, we will pray, and we will fight for the day when every family across our land can live in a drug-free America.  (Applause.)

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.

END

2:32 P.M. EDT

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