President Obama in Atlanta for drug summit - CBS46 News

President Obama in Atlanta for drug summit

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Source: Pete Souza / The White House / MGN Source: Pete Souza / The White House / MGN

President Barack Obama is in Atlanta Tuesday as he'll speak at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. For the fifth year in a row, the largest gathering of drug experts in the country will be in the city, discussing how to meet the growing trend of people falling victim to dangerous drugs.

The president announced that he will be speaking at the summit, which will be held March 28-31. This visit follows his visit last year to West Virginia where he announced a number of new public and private sector actions to address the opioid epidemic.

Nancy Hale with Operation Unite is one of the leaders hosting the summit. She talked with CBS46 News about the growing trend of people who start abusing pills only to move on to more dangerous drugs like heroin.

"It's not like someone wakes up in the morning and decides to start abusing heroin," said Hale. "There are gateways that lead to it. The largest one we've seen has been prescription drug abuse."

CBS46 asked Hale what drug is at the top of the list of pills most likely to be circulated illegally.

"With the prescription drugs, we still have a lot of people abusing the oxycontins, hydrocodones but the opiods are the top ones," said Hale.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 30,000 people in America die from overdoses on those types of drugs each year. It's a national problem and Hale says the rise in heroin deaths being seen around metro Atlanta is similar to what's being seen in other parts of the country. According to her figures, more people are dying from drug overdoses than car accidents.

There are four full days of presentations at the summit, including a panel featuring President Obama himself, which will start at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"We're very honored that the president has chosen to come to the summit to take that stand," continued Hale.

At the conclusion of the speech, the United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek H. Murthy will share his remarks.

Remember that traffic will be extremely congested as many roads will be closed for the president's motorcade so make sure you plan accordingly.

To view the schedule for the summit, click here.

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