New Jersey Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Chris Christie is calling on the nation to stop judging addicts, and to give them the tools that they need to get into recovery.
Christie spoke about a friend from law school who died from a prescription pill overdose at 52.
“By ever measure that we define success in this country, this guy had it. He’s a drug addict,” Christie said at a rally in Belmont, New Hampshire. “As I sat there at his funeral watching his daughters sobbing, [I thought] there but for the grace of God go I. It can happen to anyone. We need to start treating people rather than jailing them. We need to give them the tools they need to recover because every life is precious. We have to stop judging and start giving them the tools they need to get better.”
His sentiments echoed those of President Obama, who used the same phrase, “There but for the grace of God,” during a speech about addiction last week.
Christie spoke about his mother’s smoking habit, which eventually led to her developing lung cancer. Like all addicts, he said, his mother continued doing something that she knew was harmful to her, despite her best efforts to stop. However, when she got cancer, no one judged her or turned their backs.
“Somehow if it’s heroin or cocaine or alcohol we say they’re getting what they deserved,” Christie said.
He then talked about respecting every life.
“I’m pro life. And I think if you’re pro life that means you have to be pro life for the whole life…. The 16 year old on the floor of the county lockup addicted to heroin, I’m prolife for her too. Her life is just as much a precious gift from God has life in the womb.”
Like many candidates, Christie is recognizing that the most powerful person in the country needs to speak up and take addiction out from the shadows.
“The president needs to say that,” he said.