Obama turns attention to growing opioid abuse problem

In this photo taken De. 18, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington. On Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, the president signed emergency declaration and ordered federal aid for Flint, Mich., authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Homeland Security Department to coordinate relief efforts. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

ATLANTA (AP) – President Barack Obama says TV cameras usually show up wherever he goes and he’s hoping an appearance at a conference on opioid abuse will highlight a growing problem that killed nearly 30,000 people in 2014.

He says the statistics are “staggering” in terms of lives lost, reduced productivity and cost to families due to abuse of these highly addictive drugs.

But Obama says the “good news” is that Republicans and Democrats are working together to address the issue because the problem is affecting everybody.

Obama was in Atlanta on Tuesday to participate in a panel discussion on drug abuse.

Opioids include prescription painkillers like morphine and illegal narcotics such as heroin.

Congress is working on legislation to allocate more resources to the problem.

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