Inspired by his own family’s “heartbreak” at the hands of addiction, Jeb Bush is pledging to dramatically reduce drug abuse if elected president.
In an emotional essay published Tuesday on the website Medium, the GOP hopeful shared about his daughter Noelle’s struggles with addiction during his time as governor of Florida.
“I never expected to see my precious daughter in jail. It wasn’t easy, and it became very public when I was Governor of Florida, making things even more difficult for Noelle. She went through hell, so did her mom, and so did I,” he wrote. “It’s very debilitating when you have a loved one who is struggling, and you can’t control it. You have to love them, but you also have to make it clear you cannot enable the behavior that gets them in trouble.”
Noelle, 38, who Bush said is now drug-free, was arrested in 2002 when she tried to use a fraudulent prescription to buy anti-anxiety pills. Later that year, she was found with crack cocaine at a rehabilitation center in Florida.
Bush will further discuss his daughter’s battle with drug abuse on Tuesday afternoon at a forum on addiction and the heroin epidemic at Southern New Hampshire University in New Hampshire. There, he will also unveil a drug control strategy he plans to implement as president, The New York Times reports.
Bush’s proposal calls for wider access to drug courts, improved treatment and recovery programs, better parenting and tightened security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Some try to make the drug epidemic just a criminal justice issue, and some try to make it just a health care issue. These singular approaches oversimplify this complex challenge,” Bush’s campaign said in a statement detailing the plan. “Governor Jeb Bush believes we need a multi-faceted strategy that: prevents drug abuse and addiction; strengthens criminal justice; secures the border to stop the flow of illicit drugs; and improves treatment and recovery programs.”