Agriculture Secretary to Talk Opioid Abuse in Appalachia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is heading to Appalachia to talk about the scourge of opioid addiction devastating the region.

Vilsack will be in Abingdon, Virginia, for a Thursday afternoon round-table discussion on substance abuse. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will also attend.

The event comes as Congress negotiates new drug abuse bills. President Barack Obama’s administration wants about $1 billion more for substance abuse treatment to be added to the legislation.

Vilsack says Congress is passing drug abuse bills that let the administration do what it’s already doing. He says they include very little new money.

Obama has tapped Vilsack to head an interagency team dedicated to addressing opioid abuse.

In October, Obama visited Charleston, West Virginia, for a substance abuse discussion.

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