Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina spoke openly about her family's experience with addiction at the Republican debate this week and called for changes to the way that the nation approaches addiction.
“My husband, Frank, and I burried a child to drug addiction,” she said. “It's taking too many of our young people.”
Fiorina's stepdaughter, Lori, died in 2009 after dealing with drug addiction and bulimia.
“Lori's potential was never fulfilled, but death is not the only thing that crushes potential,” Fiorina wrote in her book, Rising to the Challenge. “What I also know is that Americans are failling to achieve their potential today.”
Fiorina's remarks during the debate came after Rand Paul and Jeb Bush admitted to smoking marijuana in the past. While the two bantered, Fiorina cut in with her experience, adding, “The pot today is very different to the pot that Jeb just addmitted smoking 40 years ago.”
After the debate, Fiorina spoke to the media about the way that America approaches drug addiction.
“The war on drugs has failed. We need a different approach,” she told CNN. “We have the highest incarceration rates in the world. Two-thirds of the people sitting in jail are there for non-violent, drug-related offenses. It’s not working. We’re not investing enough in this.”
She also addressed stigma, and her decision to share her family's story. “And while, of course, it’s difficult to talk about, I think it’s also very important to talk about. So that families that are suffering through this know that they should not feel ashamed or stigmatized.”