Melania Trump joining panel on opioid crisis at Liberty University


FILE – In this July 13, 2018, file photo, first lady Melania Trump takes a seat during a visit to The Royal Hospital Chelsea in central London. Trump is visiting Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 17, to meet with families of children who were affected by exposure to opioids while in the womb. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, […]

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WXFR/WAVY) — Liberty University officials are preparing for the arrival of Melania Trump and other high profile guests on Wednesday for a town hall on the opioid crisis.

Students required to attend will have a seat for the forum, which is being held at the Vines Convocation Center. It is first-come, first-serve for other students. Seating for the public is limited.

Liberty students say the town hall meeting is necessary for all Liberty students. 

“It’s because it’s something that’s going on like people are getting addicted to it,” said Brandy Kelly, a junior at Liberty University. “Babies, too. It’s something that needs to be addressed, and I feel like Liberty students need to know.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 115 die every day in the United States from opioid overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports roughly 21-29 percent of all patients who are prescribed opioids will abuse them. 

Wednesday’s town hall will also feature political commentator and author Eric Bolling, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II and actress, producer, and author Dianna Hart.

Other students’ focus is on security for the event.

“It’s definitely a big deal, especially to have someone that high profile coming to the campus,” said Patrick Carpenter, a senior at the university. “If anything, security is more important than it usually is.”

With high-profile guests, traffic could become an issue. 

“I’m not worried that security is going to be an issue,” said Carpenter. “I think we’ll all be safe – that won’t be an issue. I think what might be annoying is all the extra traffic that might come along with the security, but I think we’ll be OK.”

The town hall is slated to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Liberty officials tell WAVY sister station WFXR security will be tight, and magnometers will be used in front of the convocation center before people are allowed to enter. 

Virginia State Police will also be patrolling campus throughout the day. 

Prohibited items include: Aerosols, ammunition, animals other than service/guide dogs, backpacks, bags and signs exceeding size restriction of 18″ x 13″ x 7″, balloons, bicycles, coolers or containers, drones and other unmanned aircraft, e-cigarettes, explosives, firearms, glass, thermal or metal containers, laser pointers, mace/pepper spray, packages, selfie sticks, structures, support for signs and placards, toy guns, weapons of any kind, any other items determined to be a potential hazard. 

Surrendered items will not be returned. 

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