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Liberty University, Sinclair Broadcast Group Continue the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic with Town Halls Across the Country

Liberty University, Sinclair Broadcast Group continue the fight against the opioid epidemic with town halls across the country

A partnership between Liberty University and Sinclair Broadcast Group that started in November 2018 to fight the nationwide opioid crisis, continues with its next town hall event on Tuesday, February 19, at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C.

The town hall will feature a panel of experts to engage Millennials and Gen Zers in an important discussion about the opioid crisis. Expected guests include Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), President of Charleston Southern and Liberty alumnus Dondi Costin, and Liberty President Jerry Falwell and his wife, Becki Falwell. TV news personality Eric Bolling will moderate the event. Since losing his 19-year-old son Eric Chase to an accidental opioid overdose in 2017, Bolling and his wife Adrienne have become fierce advocates to help battle the crisis, using their platform to spread awareness and help families avoid tragedy.

Liberty hosted the first town hall event on November 28, 2018, followed by several more events throughout the country. Liberty’s kick-off event was held at the Convocation in the Vines Center and included a speech from the First Lady of the United States Melania Trump. She gladly accepted the invitation to Liberty’s stage because saving lives from opioid abuse is an issue close to her heart. It is a main pillar of her “BE BEST” initiative to improve the health and well-being of today’s youth.

“This epidemic has touched so many people,” the First Lady told the crowd. “Whether it’s because of personal use or death of a family member, friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Opioid addiction is an illness that has truly taken ahold of our country.”

More than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids since 2000. From 2014 to 2015, deaths from synthetic opioids increased by 72 percent. In 2017, more than 72,000 died from drug overdoses, with the majority being from opioids.

“I can honestly say that beginning this critical task of spreading opioid awareness at Liberty University was a gift sent from my son,” Bolling said. “From the student body attending, to First Lady Melania Trump’s participation, to the hospitality Becki and Jerry Falwell gave me, the whole experience was nothing shy of miraculous. I look forward to a continued collaboration with Liberty, Sinclair, and of course the First Lady. Together we will save many lives.”

“We heard so much great feedback from our town hall here in November, and we wanted to help keep the momentum going to other U.S. cities,” President Falwell said. “As parents, Becki and I are concerned about this crisis and the many families who are being affected nationwide. We applaud the work that the Trump Administration, First Lady Melania Trump, and Eric Bolling are doing to combat the crisis and to give hope to those who are struggling with addiction. We are proud to partner with them to save more lives.”

The February 19 event will begin at 7 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on select Sinclair TV stations, including WJLA-Washington, D.C., WACH-Columbia, SC, WCIV-Charleston, SC, WPDE-Myrtle Beach and WSET-Lynchburg, VA. For viewers not in these markets, the Town Hall will also be available via livestream on Sinclair station websites and Liberty’s Facebook page.

Liberty and Sinclair will also sponsor town halls with Baltimore-affiliate WBFF on March 14 (addressing what U.S. cities and towns are doing to combat the crisis); with West Palm Beach-affiliate WPEC on March 27 (discussing the gateway for drugs and entry into the U.S., and Little Rock-affiliate KATV on April 16 (on the prevention and solutions to the crisis).

Scott Livingston, Vice President of News for Sinclair, said the company is excited to once again partner with Liberty to broadcast programs that will have a major impact. “As the largest producer of local news in the country, it is our responsibility to help educate our communities. Our goal is to not only raise awareness, but to focus on finding solutions to this epidemic, which is a national health crisis. We’re proud to partner with Liberty University in this important and potentially lifesaving discussion.”

About Liberty University
Liberty University, founded in 1971, is the world’s premier Christian university, one of the largest private, nonprofit universities in the nation, and the largest university in Virginia. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 acres in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty offers more than 600 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. Over 300 programs are offered online. Utilizing its world-class infrastructure and Christian faculty, Liberty’s mission is to train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.

About Sinclair Broadcast Group:
Sinclair is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. The Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 191 television stations in 89 markets. Sinclair is a leading local news provider in the country and operates the greatest number of award-winning news rooms in the industry and is dedicated to impactful journalism with a local focus. The Company has multiple national networks, live local sports production, as well as stations affiliated with all the major networks. Sinclair’s content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at

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