During the presidential election cycle, candidates will stump from city to city talking about the important issues that concern the nation as a whole. While every presidential hopeful gets plenty of airtime talking about the crucial matters that grip the country, it can be a rare occasion when a candidate opens up honestly about personal and sensitive issues that has significantly impacted their life and the lives of their family. In this current election, Florida governor Jeb Bush has stepped forward and spoken openly and candidly about his daughter Noelle’s drug addiction in the early 2000’s. His story is a perfect example of the heartbreak of drug addiction and how it can devastate families from all backgrounds.
Bush Family Struggles with Addiction
During a campaign stop in New Hampshire early in August, Bush opened up about his daughter’s struggles with prescription medications when speaking about drug addiction and the drug trade. In 2002, Noelle Bush was arrested after she attempted to obtain the popular and powerful anti-anxiety medication Xanax through another person’s prescription. During her time in rehab, she had run into trouble on two separate occasions: one for stealing pills while in rehab and another for being in the possession of crack cocaine.
When she was arrested initially for attempting to illegally obtain Xanax, she had avoided jail time and was ordered to inpatient treatment. However, she did experience further legal consequences as a result of her subsequent offenses. When caught with prescription medications in rehab, Noelle Bush was sentenced to three days in jail. When she was caught with crack cocaine, she was sentenced to an additional 10 days. Noelle Bush’s struggles were headline news because of the fact that her father was governor of Florida at the time and her uncle George W. Bush was president.
Despite the press coverage, Jeb Bush has been very open about his daughter’s struggles with addiction and how it affected the family. Bush stated the following during the New Hampshire campaign stop:
People need to stay together in this regard..And, look, I have some personal experience with this as a dad, and it is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to have to go through
After her time in rehab, Noelle Bush has remained out of the national spotlight. She had briefly worked for the Center for Drug Free Living in 2003 and she currently works at one of her father’s businesses.
Scrutiny Under the Media Spotlight
While Jeb Bush had been very upfront in regards to his daughter’s struggles with addiction, the media frenzy and scrutiny following her arrest angered him. Journalists who were scrambling to report on every conceivable angle of the story uncovered some interesting details concerning Noelle Bush’s arrest and time spent in rehab. Perhaps the most intriguing detail was the link between the judge who was overseeing her rehab progress and a charity that received state government money. The implication the press made was that Noelle, who spent less than two weeks in jail overall, received special treatment because her judge appreciated the grants made to the charity on whose board he had sat which totalled close to a million dollars.
In early 2003, Jeb Bush wrote directly to the reporter who wrote about this connection and stated that he was upset of the coverage his daughter was getting in the press regarding her arrest. In this email, which was released to the public as part of a massive data dump done to show transparency leading up to his 2016 presidential run, stated the following:
‘It won’t matter in the whole scheme of things, but I wish the media would leave my daughter alone. It would make it a whole lot easy [sic] for her to recover and live a life full of hope and promise.’
Among the emails discovered in this data dump were countless emails sent to Bush offering support and encouragement regarding Noelle’s recovery. The story of Noelle Bush’s addiction and its’ effects on her family underscore the fact that addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer of people’s lives. While this particular story drew substantial attention due to the family name and their place in the American political landscape, countless families across the United States are dealing with the severe consequences of drug and alcohol addiction every day.
While many of these families feel overwhelmed by the complex disease of addiction, there are many quality drug treatment options that are available that can help the addict break the vicious cycle of addiction. If you or a family member is struggling with addiction and you need information or help finding the best treatment options, contact Recovery Hub today and speak to one of our experienced member representatives. You can also visit us online to browse our extensive resources area which contains many informative addiction and treatment-related blogs and articles.
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