Trump, Christie pledge to combat nation's opioid addiction


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is vowing to step up efforts to combat the nation's opioid addiction crisis, and he's tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead the fight.

Trump convened an emotional roundtable today with Christie, members of his Cabinet, law enforcement chiefs, recovering addicts and advocates. It was the first public event tied to the launch of a new addiction commission that Christie, a longtime Trump friend and formal rival, will chair.

Trump listened intently as Vanessa Vitolo and AJ Solomon, two recovering addicts from New Jersey, described their harrowing battles with substance abuse. Both became hooked on prescription pain killers, and quickly transitioned to heroin.

Trump also heard from a mother whose son died from an overdose after a long battle with addition. Her son, Trump told the mother, hadn't died in vain.

"We want to help those who have become so badly addicted. Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States," said Trump, citing statistics that show drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the country. "This is a total epidemic and I think it's probably, almost un-talked about compared to the severity that we're witnessing."

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