In a moving moment at Saturday night’s ABC News presidential debate, candidate Sen. Ted Cruz shared the story of his half-sister’s battle with drug addiction in the context of the overarching problem of addiction in the United States.
Moderator David Muir referenced comment this week from New Hampshire’s Governor regarding the high rate of heroin overdose in the state. Muir then cited 48 per cent as the number of New Hampshire residents that know a heroin abuser.
Josh McElveen of WMUR jabbed at Cruz’s absence from a Judiciary Committee meeting last month that discussed drug addiction before asking Cruz what he had to say to convince law enforcement that he understands the severity of the problem.
Cruz began speaking of his own family’s experience with his sister and her drug addiction:
Well, Josh, as you noted, this is a problem that, for me, I understand first-hand. My older sister, Myriam, who was my half- sister, struggled her whole life with drug and alcohol addiction. My father and her mom divorced when she was a little girl and she was angry her whole life, and she ended up marrying a man who had been in and out of jail. She then became a single mom and she herself went to jail several times and she ended up spending some time in a crack house.
I still remember my father and me driving up to get Myriam out of that crack house to try to convince her she needed to be a mom to — to my nephew Joey.
She wasn’t willing to listen. She was not willing to change the path she was on. She was angry. I was — had just gotten my first job coming out of law school. I took a $20,000 loan on a credit card to put my nephew, Joey, in Valley Forge Military Academy — he was in sixth grade at the time, to pay his way through that.
And about five, six years ago, Miriam died of an overdose. It was — the coroner ruled it accidental. We don’t know. She went to [bed] one night, had taken too many pills, and Joey walked in and found her dead.
Cruz went on to provide guidance on what he sees as the solution to this problem including in that how an unsecured border contributes to it:
This is an absolute epidemic. We need leadership to solve it. Solving it has to occur at the state and local level with programs like A.A., and counseling, and churches and charities. But it also has to be securing the borders, because you have got Mexican cartels that are smuggling vast amounts of heroin into this country.
We know how to secure the borders. What is missing is the political will to do it.
And as president, I will secure the border, we will end this deluge of drugs that is flowing over our southern border and that is killing Americans across this country.
Earlier in the night Cruz detailed portions of his plan to solve the problem of illegal immigration including his plan to secure the nation’s borders.
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