Falwell shares excitement for FLOTUS Convocation discussion on opioid crisis

On Wednesday, Nov. 28,  Convocation will host First Lady Melania Trump, political commentator and author Eric Bolling, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II, and producer, author and mother of Demi Lovato, Dianna Hart for a discussion of the opioid crisis in America. 

Convocation will be filmed for Bolling’s new show for Sinclair Broadcasting. 

According to President Jerry Falwell, “Becki gets the credit” for the FLOTUS appearance. The Falwell’s were at the White House and Trump Hotel the night of the midterm election in early November when they spoke with Bolling, who wanted to film his first episode at Liberty. 

“My wife is good friends with the First Lady so she texted her and invited her to come, she figured the worst that could happen is that she says no. And she said ‘yes,’ so she fit it into her schedule,” said Falwell. 

Falwell said he is grateful the First Lady has accepted visiting Liberty. 

“It’s an exciting event for us and I think it’s something that the students will never forget,” said Falwell. 

The topic of panel conversation is the opioid crisis, which takes over a hundred lives daily and is becoming a national epidemic. 

“It could destroy our nation. It’s probably the single biggest threat to the future of our country,” Falwell said. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says opioids, which includes prescription pain relievers, heroin and fentanyl puts social and economic welfare at risk. According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, the United States spends $78.5 billion a year on treating and helping those involved with opioids. 

“The sheer number of deaths that are occurring, show that it is a chronic disease that has got to be fixed,” Falwell said. 

Falwell credits the lack of drug issues at Liberty to Liberty’s culture, the events on campus that keep students busy and the school’s emphasis of Christian values. 

“Trying to keep the college years wholesome and providing something that tends to keep students from going that direction is our goal,” said Falwell.  

Liberty’s president explained the measures in which the university has been proactive in the fight against drugs, namely by providing naloxone to Liberty’s police department and training for Resident Assistants.  

“It’s a stressful age and nobody is immune from it,” said Falwell. 

Falwell hopes that others are inspired by Liberty’s initiatives to fight drugs.  

“It’s important to see the right way to do it, there is a better alternative, and there are positives alternatives. We think we found a good balance here and that’s why we haven’t had that problem, but we want to be vigilant so it stays that way,” Falwell said. 

Opioid abuse has skyrocketed in the last year. The CDC reported a 30 percent average increase of opioid overdoses between July 2016 and September 2017. 

“We just want to protect our students from something that they might not realize is so dangerous until it’s too late,” Falwell said. 

Falwell said there will be more convocations in the future which will highlight the dangers of drug abuse. 

“Anything that kills 173 people a day in a country and is something that could get a lot worse needs to be focused on,” said Falwell. 

Falwell hopes the Convocation conversation will encourage college students to see the dangers of drug addiction.

“I just want them (students) to understand to see how dangerous (opioid’s are). It might seem like just a trivial thing — try this and try that — but if they have the right genetic predisposition they may never be able to stop. (They will) have to go through recovery and spend the rest of their lives fighting it. I would rather see them spend their lives doing something positive and helping others and building a life for themselves and their families, not wasting their time with distractions like this,” said Falwell.