Chris Christie's Speech on Drugs is a Must-Watch

November 5th 2015

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie made a powerful statement about drug addiction at a campaign event last week, drawing from personal experience to explain why American drug policy should focus on treatment over punishment.

RELATED: Ireland Has a Radical New Plan to Curb Drug Addiction

In a video of the speech, the New Jersey governor talked about losing his mother, a lifelong cigarette smoker, to lung cancer, and how nobody blamed her for her nicotine addiction. But when it comes to those suffering from heroin or alcohol addiction, "we say, 'They decided it. They're getting what they deserved,'" Christie said.

He added:

"It's easy to be pro-life for the nine months you're in the womb. They haven't done anything to disappoint us yet. They're perfect in there! But 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."

In law school, Christie also had a friend who became addicted to painkillers and later died, leading the governor to conclude that "it could happen to anyone." For that reason, he said, this country needs to change its perspective on drug enforcement. As ATTN: previously reported, abuse of prescription medication is a growing problem in the U.S., with many users transitioning from opioid-based painkillers to harder drugs such as heroin.

"We need to start treating people in this country, not jailing them."

Across the world, shifting attitudes about addiction have prompted conversations about drug law reform. Ireland plans to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit substances and open "injection rooms" throughout the country to provide a public health service to those suffering from addiction.

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