White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has been selected to represent the Trump administration as the “opioid czar.”
In a press conference on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Conway would lead the White House in its ongoing effort to combat opioid addiction.
During the conference, Sessions said that Conway would “coordinate and lead the effort from the White House.”
“The president has made this a White House priority,” said Sessions.
“She is exceedingly talented, she understands messaging,” the attorney general said of Conway. “We’ve got to change the perception in this country.”
Sessions also pointed out during the conference that as a senior adviser in the White House, Conway “has total access to the president.”
He added, “I think her appointment represents a very significant commitment from the president himself and his White House team.”
Sessions referred to the opioid epidemic as “the deadliest drug crisis in American history,” later adding, “With one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes, enforcing our drug laws is more important than ever.”
While announcing the efforts of the Trump administration to eliminate the crisis, Sessions announced $12 million in grants to assist in combating the issue.
After declaring opioid addiction a national public health emergency in October, President Trump has focused a great deal on the issue.
Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to a special panel to combat opioid addiction earlier this year. Conway also assisted in those efforts.
In 2016 alone, 250,000 Americans lost their lives to the opioid epidemic.