DC Exclusives - Original Reporting

Kellyanne Conway Is Not The Opioid Czar

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway attends a healthcare listening session at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway attends a healthcare listening session at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Several news outlets falsely reported Wednesday that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is the new “Opioid Czar.”

BuzzFeedThe Washington ExaminerThe Washington Free BeaconNew York magazine and Mother Jones are among the outlets to have reported the story. Conway told The Daily Caller Thursday that there is no czar.

The articles were based on comments made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a press conference Wednesday about new initiatives to combat the increasing amount of drug overdoses fueled by opioid addiction.

“The president has made this a White House priority. He’s asked [Conway] to coordinate and lead the effort from the White House,” Sessions said. “She is exceedingly talented. She understands messaging…Her appointment represents a very significant commitment from the president and the White House team.”

The attorney general, however, was referring to Conway’s unofficial role as the White House’s point person on the opioid crisis and Sessions never mentioned the phrase “opioid czar.” Conway has attended meetings of the White House’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission and has traveled the country to listen to people affected by the crisis.

She also wrote an op-ed with former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the issue.

“Pennsylvania has been hit hard by opioid addiction. More than 3,000 Pennsylvanians had their lives cut short by a drug overdose in 2015, up 20 percent from the year before,” Conway and Price wrote. “These are not just statistics; they are our families, our friends, our neighbors.”

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