Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Second-Chance Society

People often say that the country moved toward gay equality when many basically conservative people discovered how many of their friends, colleagues, and relatives are gay. Now it seems that the mushrooming of the opiate epidemic is leading to something similar, as politicians who have watched friends and relatives struggle with addiction are turning against prison for addicts and toward treatment. At a New Hampshire forum on drug addiction yesterday, five Republican presidential candidates shared stories of their personal involvement with drug abuse:
Mr. Bush’s daughter, Noelle Bush, has stayed far from the world of politics, in part because of her long struggle with addiction. She faced felony charges that she tried to fill a fraudulent prescription for Xanax when she was 24, and later ended up in jail after she was found with pills and then crack cocaine in her shoe. . . .

“What I learned was that the pain that you feel when you have a loved one who has addiction challenges and kind of spirals out of control is something that is shared with a whole lot of people,” he said. . . .

Carly Fiorina talked about losing her stepdaughter, Lori, who died of drug addiction. Earlier, in an email to supporters, Mrs. Fiorina spoke of Lori’s death to the “demons of addiction” and said, “If you’re criminalizing drug abuse and addiction, you’re not treating it — and you’re part of the problem.”
Bush concluded:
“For dealers, they ought to be put away forever as far as I’m concerned,” he said, to applause. “But users — I think we have to be a second-chance country.”
Sometimes, I suppose, things have to get worse before they can get better.

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