Bush Says Fighting Drug Addiction Should Be a National Calling

Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush called drug addiction one of America’s “soft underbellies” and said the fight against it should be a “national calling.” His speech at a New Hampshire forum came on the same day he published an online essay detailing his daughter’s struggle with prescription-medicine abuse.

Bush, a former Florida governor, favors expanding so-called drug courts rather than sentencing first offenders to jail. He said his daughter Noelle’s graduation from one such programs was as much a milestone in her life as her community college commencement.

“It creates huge demands on government; it creates a lack of productivity and it creates huge hardships for families across the board,” Bush told about 200 people Tuesday at the Addiction Policy Forum at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett.

Drug policy has taken on new prevalence in the race as New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary in the U.S. on Feb. 9, has been in the grips of a heroin crisis that has made headlines.