Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling on Americans to reevaluate how they view drug addiction.
In a video from the Huffington Post, Christie said:
My mother was a smoker. She smoked her whole life. She was addicted to nicotine. She started when she was 16 years old, which was 1948. But by the time 1964 came, the Surgeon General’s report came out and she was in her mid 30s, she knew that smoking was bad for you. And I’ll tell you, I watched her as a kid growing up, and she tried everything she could to quit. She had the gum, the patches, hypnosis, she tried everything. She couldn’t quit.
Now, when she turned 71—a little after that—she was diagnosed with lung cancer. No one came to me and said, ‘Don’t treat her because she got what she deserved.’ We know the lung cancer was caused by the smoking. We know it was. But no one came to me and said, ‘But hey, listen, your mother was dumb. She started smoking when she was 16. And after we told her it was bad for her, she kept doing it. So we’re not going to give her chemotherapy, we’re not going to give her radiation, we’re not going to give her any of that stuff. Because you know why? Because she’s getting what she deserves.’ No one said that.
Christie then drew a parallel from his mother’s experience to how people view drug addicts:
Yet somehow, if it’s heroin or cocaine or alcohol, we say ‘Ah, they decided. They’re getting what they deserve.’ I’m pro-life. And I think that if you’re pro-life, that means you gotta be pro-life for the whole life, not just for the nine months they’re in the womb. It’s easy to be pro-life for the nine months they’re in the womb; they haven’t done anything to disappoint us yet. They’re perfect in there. 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. Her life is just as much a precious gift from God as the one in the womb.
“And we need to start thinking that was a party and as a people. And the president needs to say those things,” Christie announced before speaking about a successful law school friend who succumbed to drug addiction.
Christie went on to say drug addicts should be treated rather than placed in jail.
In a video recently released by IJ.com, Christie said, “You make one bad choice, one time, and if you’re the kind of person who falls victim to addiction, your whole is changed and we need to do better. I always talk about addiction as an illness, to try to use whatever public profile I have to reorient people to the idea that this is something that is an illness but is treatable.”
New Jersey is currently suffering from a heroin epidemic. NJ Advance Media discovered the heroin overdose death rate in New Jersey is more than triple the national heroin overdose death rate. In New Jersey, death by heroin overdose is more common than death by homicide, suicide, car accidents, and AIDS.