President Donald Trump donated his third quarter salary on Thursday to the Department of Health and Human Services, which will use the money to empower local partners and launch a campaign to battle the opioid epidemic in America.
Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan revealed the President’s donation at Thursday’s White House press briefing, heralding the President’s compassion, patriotism, and “sense of duty to the American people.”
“But it’s his compassion, above all, that drives his interest in the issue to which HHS is going to devote his donation: America’s devastating opioid crisis,” said Hargan.
— Michelle Moons (@MichelleDiana) November 30, 2017
The Acting Director laid out the five fronts that comprise HHS’s comprehensive strategy to combat the opioid epidemic: “better data on the epidemic, better research into pain and addiction, better pain management, better targeting of overdose-reversing drugs, and better prevention, treatment, and recovery services.”
Hargan said that this strategy allows HHS to empower “heroes on the frontlines of this crisis.” He credited local partners, “community clinics, churches, law enforcement, schools, and state, local, and tribal governments” as the ones fighting the drug crisis “face to face” every day and “who ultimately are going to turn the tide on this epidemic.”
Every day more than 175 Americans die from drugs, according to the Director.
Hargan recalled President Trump’s October directive to HHS, calling for the opioid epidemic to be declared a public health emergency. Hargan made the declaration on October 26, at the President’s direction.
Hargan talked about a recent visit to Kentucky where he visited young mothers struggling with addiction and his own experience growing up in “a small town in southern Illinois” that has also been “hit hard” by the epidemic. He added that Trump has visited these types of communities in the past couple of years, raising his own awareness of “how Americans are suffering.”
The Director then specified that Trump’s donation will go toward raising awareness of the devastation of drug addiction: “We’re so pleased that President Trump has chosen to donate his salary this quarter to the planning and design of a large-scale public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.”
He also pointed to Trump’s own experience losing a family member to addiction.
“The President is personally dedicated to defeating this crisis because addiction hits home for so many of us. You heard him share the story in his opioid speech about how he lost his own brother to alcoholism,” said Hargan, who added that he also lost a close relative who “constantly struggled with opioids.”
Director Hargan thanked President Trump for his donation and, in light of the Christmas and holiday season, encouraged Americans to “consider following the President’s example and think about what we can do in our own private lives to help fight back against a crisis that’s tearing American families apart.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana