People are still talking about it. Last week, Chris Christie who is running for the Republican presidential seat was a guest speaker at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. When Christie touched upon drug addiction, many are still describing it as his plea to Americans to reconsider their views.
A change is needed.
He entered the topic first by bringing up his mother who was a cigarette smoker her entire life. She tried everything she could do to quit, Christie said.
From gum, to patches, to hypnosis, his mother was unable to break her nicotine addiction.
At 71, his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and succumbed to the disease.
He told attendees at the town hall meeting that no one approached him and said, “Don’t treat her because she got what she deserved.” No one told him that she wouldn’t receive chemotherapy or radiation because she wouldn’t stop smoking even though his mother knew it was bad for her.
“No one says that about someone with cancer,” he said.
And then Christie switched gears to drug addiction.
“Yet somehow if it’s heroin, or cocaine, or alcohol, we say, ‘Ah, they decided it and they’re getting what they what they deserved,’” he said.
Christie pointed out to the crowd that for him, the term “pro-life” transcended beyond the nine months of being in the womb.
He said, “But when they get out that’s when it gets tough. The 16-year-old teenage girl on the floor of the county lockup, addicted to heroin — I’m pro-life for her, too.” He said. “Her life is just as much a precious gift from God as the one in the womb.”
Christie told the crowd that everyone needed to start thinking that way as a party and as a people.
“And the president needs to say those things,” he said.
Christie then got more personal.
He talked about the friends he met in law school – the ones that remained his very best friends. One friend he spoke about was the first to become a prominent attorney and partner at a regarded law firm. This friend was an avid runner and was prescribed a painkiller to help ease back pain after an injury.
He continued with the story, “About a year later, I get a call from his wife and she said, ‘He’s addicted to these painkillers, and he won’t listen, and I kicked him out of the house.'”
With pure emotion, Christie talked about when he and his law school friends held an intervention after the wife’s plea. From that day forward, Christie described it as a 10-year odyssey.
His buddy was in and out of rehab, divorced, lost his license to practice law, lost his driver’s license, no longer had his home and spent all his money.
A decade after that intervention, Christie got the dreaded phone call. His friend was found dead in a hotel room with an empty bottle of Percocet and an empty quart of vodka.
“It can happen to anyone,” Christie said. He concluded, “We have to stop judging and start giving them the tools they need to get better.”
Click here for the Huffington Post clip of this town hall meeting.