Jeb Bush Continues To Talk About Daughter's Drug Struggles

By McCarton Ackerman 01/07/16

The presidential hopeful is continuing to get personal in speaking about his plans to combat drug addiction in the U.S.

Jeb Bush
Photo via Shutterstock

Jeb Bush opened up again this week about the addiction issues of his daughter, Noelle, during a campaign stop in Dover, NH, as well as in a new blog post.

Noelle, now 38, was arrested on several occasions in 2002 for charges including prescription drug fraud and possession of crack cocaine. A judge eventually sent her into a court-ordered rehabilitation center, but workers at the facility eventually found crack cocaine hidden in her shoe. Noelle was sentenced to 10 days behind bars in October 2002.

Speaking about the experience in his blog post on Medium, Jeb admitted that he “never expected to see my precious daughter in jail.” He also acknowledged that the arrest was “even more difficult” for Noelle because it occurred when he was governor of Florida.

“She went through hell, so did her mom, and so did I," wrote Bush. "It's very debilitating when you have a loved one who is struggling, and you can't control it. You have to love them, but you also have to make it clear you cannot enable the behavior that gets them in trouble."

At his campaign stop in New Hampshire, Bush also confirmed that Noelle had given him her blessing to share her story.

"I knew she was going to say 'yes,'” he said. “It just dawned on me that this event was likely to be a place where I was to talk about this…we went through hell. It's not easy at all. But I'm proud of her - I really am."

Bush also outlined his plan to combat drug addiction in the post, which includes helping nonviolent offenders receive treatment and improving both drug treatment and drug recovery programs. Although he wants to increase punishment for illegal drug sales, many of his proposals are in stark contrast to his approach as governor of Florida. In 2002, he opposed a ballot initiative in the state that would send up to 10,000 non-violent drug offenders throughout the state into treatment instead of prison. He also recently opposed initiatives in the state to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational use.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.