ATLANTA - President Obama was in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon for a frank discussion on the nation’s drug epidemic. The panel was part of the annual National Prescription Drug and Heroin Summit.
Obama shared the stage with physicians and former addicts who shared their personal story of struggle to overcome drug abuse.
A physician on the panel expressed the frustration shared by so many medical professionals and efforts to secure timely treatment for the tens of thousands battling prescription drug and heroin addiction in America.
President Obama told the group that in the same way the nation has effectively reduced traffic fatalities and tobacco consumption, similar efforts are needed to make treatment addiction programs and other resources more readily available.
The Obama administration touting the president's $1.1 billion proposal to address the growing epidemic.
App users: Watch President Obama's arrival in Atlanta
Air Force One touched down bit earlier than expected, just before 1:30 p.m. at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where the President was greeted by a large crowd.
The Presidential motorcade left the airport soon after and headed to the downtown event, which is taking place at AmericasMart.
The National Prescription Drug and Heroin Summit is touted as the largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals and advocates seeking to address prescription drug abuse, misuse and diversion. The President's appearance at this year's event comes as the Summit's focus expands to address the nation's heroin crisis, which has been linked to the prescription drug problem.
The President is seeking $1.1 billion dollars in new federal funds to combat the growing problem of opioids addiction, as deaths linked to the highly addictive drugs soared to more than 28 thousand in 2014, the highest number on record.
Opioids are prescription painkillers codeine and morphine, as well as illegal narcotics like heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the number of heroin related overdose deaths have more than tripled since 2010, and increased 286 percent since 2002.
The President's appearance comes as the Obama administration is issuing a proposed rule to increase medication based treatments for people addicted to opioids. The effort comes with a commitment from 60 medical schools to heighten training in the prescribing of these medications.
Air Force One left Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport about 4:20 p.m. President Obama is expected to return to Washington Tuesday evening.