Crystal Oertle Asks Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders a Question About “The War on Drugs”
TAPPER: Senator, I want you to meet Crystal Oertle. She’s a mother and an advocate who helps people struggling with addiction. She says she is supporting you on Tuesday, but she has this question.
OERTLE: Hi. I was addicted to heroin for over 12 years, trying to raise my two small children, and oftentimes taking my youngest with me to buy heroin daily. It became my main goal every day. I am in recovery now, and lucky not to be in prison. What my question is what you plan to do with the failed drug policy that tends to want to incarcerate addicts instead of rehabilitate them.
SANDERS: Thank you.
SANDERS: If you were at the rally we held just a few hours ago, what you would have heard me say, and what I say all of the time, is that today in America we have in my state, in neighboring New Hampshire, and all over this country, a massive crisis in heroin addiction and overdosing, and opiate addiction as well.
What we have got to do is fundamentally rethink the so-called War on Drugs which has been a failure.
We have got to look at substance abuse and addiction as a health issue, not a criminal issue. Locking up addicts is not going to solve the problem.
Read the full transcript here: CNN Press Room