Trump vows to stop 'scourge' of opioid epidemic, calls for crackdown on drug dealers

  • President Donald Trump lauded a New Mexico police officer who stopped a pregnant homeless woman from injecting heroin and then adopted her baby.
  • Trump vowed to stop the "scourge" of the opioid epidemic.
  • More than 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, many involving heroin or prescription painkillers, in 2016.

President Donald Trump lauded a New Mexico police officer who stopped a pregnant woman from injecting heroin — and then adopted her child — as he called for a crackdown on "drug dealers and pushers" to stem the massive opioid epidemic.

Trump, during a State of the Union address that recognized Officer Ryan Holets sitting in the audience, said reforms pushed by his administration will "support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction."

"In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge," Trump said. "For those who have been so terribly hurt."

"My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult — but, as Americans always do, we will prevail."

"As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America," Trump said.

"We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico," the president said.

"Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife, Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby."

First Lady Melania Trump, Albuquerque Police Office Ryan Holets, Rebecca Holets, and their adopted daughter Hope, whose mother was a homeless heroin addict.
CNBC
First Lady Melania Trump, Albuquerque Police Office Ryan Holets, Rebecca Holets, and their adopted daughter Hope, whose mother was a homeless heroin addict.

"In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: 'You will do it — because you can.' He heard those words."

"He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife, Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope."

Trump, speaking directly to the Holets, said, "You embody the goodness of our nation. Thank you, and congratulations."