THERE’S a very personal reason why US President Donald Trump doesn’t touch booze.
In an emotional speech to declare the opioid crisis in the United States a public health emergency — he opened up about his brother Fred and effect alcohol had on him.
Freddy suffered from alcoholism, and died in 1981 at the young age of 43.
Speaking to a packed room of former addicts, parents of overdose victims and treatment specialists, he said addiction destroyed his sibling’s life
“I had a brother, Fred,” he said “Great guy, best-looking guy. Best personality, much better than mine.
“But he had a problem, a problem with alcohol. And he would tell me, don’t drink.
“He was substantially older and I listened to him and I respected. He’s also added, don’t smoke.
“But he would say it over and over again. And to this day I’ve never had a drink. And, I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it.
“To this day I’ve never had a cigarette. Don’t worry those are only two of my good things — I don’t want to tell you about the bad things. There’s plenty of bad things too.”
Mr Trump said his brother’s life could serve as a lesson to prevent young people taking drugs.
“But he (Fred) helped me. He guided me and he had a very, very, very tough life because of alcohol believes me. He was a strong guy, but it was a tough thing that he was going through,” he said.
“But I learned because of Fred and that’s what I think is so important. This was an idea I had — if we can teach young people not to take drugs, not to start, then it’s really easy not to take them. I think that’s going to be our most important thing.
“When I see my friend having difficulty with not having that drink at dinner — where it’s literally impossible for them to stop.
“I say to myself, I can’t even understand it — why would that be difficult. But we understand why it is difficult.”
Fred was an fun-loving airline pilot, the New York Times reports.
As his brother was making waves in the business world, Fred was a disappointment to the Trump family, Annamaria Schifano, girlfriend of Freddy’s best friend, told th US paper.
She said he lacked the killer instinct and drifted so far from his father’s ambitions that his children were largely cut out of the patriarch’s will.
Since becoming president in January, Mr Trump has repeatedly pledged to declare a “national emergency” to fight the abuse of opioids such as Percocet, OxyContin, heroin and fentanyl.
From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses in the US and 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose — according to US government statistics.
And, according to a commission on drug abuse set up by Mr Trump, 142 Americans died every day from a drug overdose in 2015 — more than the number killed in car crashes and gun homicides combined.
However, instead of declared the opioid epidemic to be a “national emergency” he announced he was ordering a “public health emergency,”The Sun reports.
The declaration does not provide any increased federal funding to address the crisis but the officials said the White House would seek more money from Congress to do so.
The last time a public health emergency was declared in the United States was in 2009 in response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak.
“We will free our nation from the terrible affliction of drug abuse,” he said at the declaration.
“It will take many years, and even decades, to address this scourge in our society … we can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”