Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has addressed “the heartbreak” of his daughter’s drug addiction, pledging to reduce addiction in America if he becomes president.
In a piece posted on Medium, Bush spoke of the struggle his family went through due to his daughter Noelle’s drug problems and incarceration.
“I never expected to see my precious daughter in jail,” he wrote.
“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.”
Noelle Bush was jailed in 2002 for using a fraudulent prescription to purchase anti-anxiety pills, and was later discovered with crack cocaine while in a rehabilitation centre.
That year, Noelle’s mother Columba told a reporter she blamed being born into a political family for his daughter’s drug problems.
Columba Bush sits on the board of CASAColumbia, a national anti-drug organisation.
Jeb Bush has since said Noelle is drug free, and working as an office manager for one of his companies.
In the Medium article, Bush praised the value of drug courts, which use a “restorative solution model involving multi-disciplinary coordination … mental health specialists, social services and treatment professionals”.
He said he was a “proud Dad” the day Noelle graduated from drug court, and was also proud of reducing youth heroin use in Florida by 50 per cent during his time as governor.
The article serves as a preview of the Republican candidate’s drug control strategy, which will be unveiled at a forum on addiction and the heroin epidemic at Southern New Hampshire University this week.
The strategy will include early preventative drug education, reduced mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crime and securing American borders against Mexican drug cartels.