In the midst of a drug epidemic sweeping the state, several GOP candidates shared their own families’ devastating stories of addiction on Tuesday, joining state leaders at the Addiction Policy Forum at Southern New Hampshire University.
A recent poll by ABC affiliate WMUR and the University of New Hampshire showed for the first time in eight years, Granite State voters don’t view the economy as the top issue facing the state, but rather its skyrocketing rate of overdoses.
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina sat on a panel for nearly an hour, as she gave some of the most detailed remarks to date on her stepdaughter’s addiction struggle, which eventually led to her death.
“There’s an old saying,” Fiorina said. “The eyes are the window to the soul. And as Lori grew progressively sicker, the sparkle, the potential, the possibilities that had once filled her life – disappeared from behind her eyes.”
As the conversation turned to second chances, Fiorina recalled “standing in front of a judge, begging him not to send her back to prison.”
In the end, her pleas didn’t work – and Fiorina now finds herself calling for treatment-based solutions.
“I know that experience did not help,” she said of her stepdaughter’s imprisonment, “because I saw her as she came out.”
Overdoses now claim 129 lives a day in the U.S., according to organizer Jessica Nickel.
“That’s like two regional airliners,” she told ABC News. “Or the graduating class of a high school. If two regional airliners went down every day in the U.S., we would be up in arms about it. And we’re doing nothing.”