Washington: US First Lady Melania Trump has called the opioid epidemic the "worst drug crisis" in American history, as she urged more public attention to it.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, Trump talked about the importance of understanding the severe and fatal effects of opioids and eliminating the stigma surrounding drug dependence, reports Xinhua news agency.
She said "opioid addiction is an illness that has truly taken hold of our country" while calling for more public discussion about the epidemic so that people can get help.
President Donald Trump's administration has declared a "national health emergency" in the wake of the crisis.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 130 people in the US die each day due to overdosing on opioids.
In 2017, the overdoses accounted for more than 72,000 deaths, more than any previous year on record.
In 2016, an estimated 40 per cent of opioid deaths involved a prescription drug.
Taking on the opioid epidemic is a pillar of the First Lady's "Be Best" youth initiative, which was launched in May.