White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway on Thursday celebrated the news that the number of drug overdose deaths had decreased in the United States for the first time in 29 years.
“This has not happened through coincidence. It’s happened through causation,” Conway told reporters at the White House on Thursday, crediting President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and the entire Trump administration for working to reduce opioid deaths.
The death rate from drug overdoses fell 4.1 percent in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s a turning point and we hope it becomes a trend,” Conway said. “So what we’re doing is working, and it is a multifaceted approach.
Conway praised the SUPPORT Act, which was signed by President Trump in 2018 with bipartisan support, for helping reduce the amount of overdose and opioid deaths.
Officials at the White House briefing also credited raising awareness of the crisis, creating a Take Back Day for unused opioid prescriptions, more funding and resources for treatment and rehab, and the spread of the overdose treatment drug naloxone.
Americans, however – 68,000 of them – still reportedly died from drug overdoses in 2018, according to the report.
“That’s 68,000 too many,” Conway said. “If you look at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, that number could be represented by every single seat with 3,000 left over.”
The president campaigned in 2016 on reducing deaths from opioids and getting the drugs out of America’s communities.
“When I won the New Hampshire primary, I promised the people of New Hampshire that I would stop drugs from pouring into your communities,” Trump said in October 2016 during a speech on the issue in Maine. “I am now doubling-down on that promise, and can guarantee you — we will not only stop the drugs from pouring in, but we will help all of those people so seriously addicted get the assistance they need to unchain themselves.”