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President Donald Trump, in an address from the White House, declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. 

He vowed to fight the scourge of opioids on many fronts, including at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"An astonishing 90% of the heroin in America comes from south of the border where we will be building a wall, which will greatly help in this problem," said Trump. 


Op-Ed: Border Wall Will Help Combat Opioid Epidemic


Critics argued the president should have taken more drastic action, declaring the issue a national emergency and making new funds available to combat the problem. 

Federal health officials say opioids kill 140 Americans each day. 

Trump emphasized that his administration is dedicated to enforcing immigration laws, securing land and maritime borders and working with other nations to stop opioids where they're produced.

"We have no choice," he said. 

The president's remarks came after an introductory speech by the First Lady, Melania Trump. 

The president also talked about the need to help those that are already addicted. 

Trump remembered his older brother, Fred, who died due to alcohol problems at age 43

"He would tell me, 'don't drink,' ... and I listened to him," he said, noting that to this day he does not drink and has never had a cigarette. 

"I have no interest in it. Don't worry, those are only two of my good things. I don't want to tell you about the bad things," he joked.


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