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Opinion: Let’s continue having honest conversations about the opioid epidemic

(Sinclair Broadcast Group)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - I went to a really important event this week where I learned a lot. It was the unveiling of the Prescribed to Death memorial commemorating those who have died and are dying from prescription opioid overdoses.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to the president, is leading the Trump administration’s efforts on opioids.

"This is the crisis next door, Boris, because it affects every demographic group, every geographic area and the numbers have been increasingly getting worse." Conway said.

"Fifty-two thousand deaths in 2015, 64,000 a year later in 2016. One in 25 Americans say that they have misused opioids. We know that is an underreported number. What should really shock everyone is that we start collecting that information at age 12 because we can, and because we must. So what I want people to know is the opioid crisis is a very tricky one. It often starts in the family’s medicine cabinet in that tiny little bottle that bears a label that says family doctor, local pharmacy. It’s prescribed, meant to help someone, somehow, someway, it’s just being misused. But I want people to understand this memorial is to honor the lives lost, the people who were loved and are missed, the 22,000 tiny little lights that are actually the carvings of people’s faces of the victims. That’s just a fraction of those that we lose every year," Conway added.

Here is the bottom line: this crisis is everywhere in our country. I urge you to have conversations with your friends, your families and your doctors to make sure that neither you nor your loved ones are the next victims of this devastating opioid epidemic.

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