- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2019

First lady Melania Trump said Thursday she will speak to her Colombian counterpart about drug addiction next week when President Ivan Duque Marquez and his wife visit Washington.

“I will have a plan to talk to her about the crisis of opioids,” Mrs. Trump said, referring to Colombia first lady Maria Juliana Ruiz Sandoval, at a briefing at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The White House is working with South American officials to slash coca and cocaine production in Colombia. It’s risen to record levels, sparking an increase in use, addiction and cocaine-related deaths in the U.S.

And it’s becoming intertwined with the foremost U.S. drug problem — fatal overdoses from fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that’s typically mixed with heroin but may taint other drugs.

“We’re increasingly seeing Chinese fentanyl mixed in with cocaine,” said Eric Talbot, the associate director of the National Cocaine Coordination Group.

He said many users don’t realize they’re taking fentanyl with the cocaine.

Mrs. Trump said she would raise the drug issue with Ms. Sandoval.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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