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First lady's visit shines light on Lily's Place, fight against drug epidemic

First Lady Melania Trump visits with workers at Lily's Place in Huntington. (WCHS/WVAH)

Workers at Lily's Place in Huntington said first lady Melania Trump during a visit to the facility Tuesday seemed to honestly care about the area's drug problem and wanted to help.

While there are no immediate solutions, the first lady's visit shines a light on the growing drug problem. Tuesday morning she got an education in treating babies born to drug addicted mothers.

Six days after he was born, 9-month-old Kyrie Hickey was admitted to Lily's Place because his mother, Rachael Kinder, said she was addicted to methadone while she was pregnant with Kyrie. Kyrie was released from Lily's Place in February.

"He did really well, and now you would never know that he was here. He's like any other baby," Kinder said.

Kinder was part of the group that met with the first lady at Lily's Place. She said the two talked about how Lily's Place helped her.

"It made me feel really good. She seems like she really did care about our city and about the epidemic. Seemed to care about how I was doing, and made me feel really happy and excited," Kinder said.

Kinder believes Trump's visit will make a difference in the drug epidemic.

"I'm hoping that they will start opening more places like this and some of the stigma will go away so others aren't scared to ask for help," Kinder said.

Rebecca Crowder, executive director of Lily's Place, said Melania Trump is in a position "to where she has the ear of the people who can make change, who can make differences, and I think she really wants to do that."

Crowder said the first lady came armed with questions, wanting to learn all she can about the facility.

"We're definitely still going to be suffering from the epidemic, but are we helping more people? At this moment, we're not going to come up with some quick cure for the problem, but we have to have people take baby steps to make sure we get there one day," Crowder said.

Crowder hopes Tuesday's visit helps the first lady develop a plan to address the drug problem among drug exposed babies.

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