Governor Jeb Bush at the New Hampshire Addiction Forum

Governor Jeb Bush at the New Hampshire Addiction Forum


[music] [Governor Jeb Bush] thank You all, thank you all for being here. Thanks for letting me come. I’m a candidate for president
because I believe that, if we fix a few big, complex things, nothing will stop this country. Honestly, believe it. But we’ve got challenges, both in terms of how our government operates
and our country itself. And one of those is the
affliction of addiction. It is a serious problem. I used to be able to, and I
think I can still do this. When I was governor, my
wife and I went through a very public challenge as a family. My daughter has addiction problems and is in recovery now. Thank God, she’s in drug-free. (applause) And she’s a courageous young woman and she had to go through
a very public challenge. The funny thing about public
life is that people say, well you gotta make sure that no special treatment is given. And, in my daughter’s case, she got the benefit of
no special treatment. She got extra treatment as it relates to the scrutiny. And it was a difficult time
for my wife and for me, and what I learned was
that the pain that you feel when you have a loved one
who has addiction challenges and kind of spirals out of control is something that is shared
with a whole lot of people. And I found I could just
go in my public life and I could be in a
chamber of commerce event and someone would look at me with a feeling that I felt. Just like you look ’em
in the eyes and know that as a mom or a dad or a spouse, they were going through
the same things that, as you love your spouse
or you love your child with your heart and soul, and they’ve kinda lost
control of their lives, what I realized was, there
are a whole lot of people that were going through
the exact same thing. And I could just see them. I could see them when I was talking about economic development or education reform and I could see in the crowd,
people were looking at me knowing that I was going
through the same things as a loved one with a challenge. And it was extraordinary. I’ll never forget, my daughter graduated from Tallahassee Community College. And that was a big deal for us. And that graduation, I
went as a proud parent, but the one I’ll never forget was the drug court graduation
she had in Orlando, Florida. And one person after another,
some over three months, some over six months, some you know, much quicker than that had the judication that was withheld wiped off their slate and they graduated, and they graduated drug free
on the road to recovery, and it was an extraordinary event. All of this informs my belief about how we as a nation need to deal
with the affliction that comes from addictions. It is a serious problem. Whether it’s alcoholism
or opiate addiction or heroin addiction, it
is a serious, serious problem that creates huge
demands on government, and it creates a lack of productivity, and it creates hardship for
families most importantly. It crosses all ethnic
lines, all income lines. It is one of the soft underbellies
I think of our country, and we need to get on with it. We need to make this a much higher priorty than we had. (applause) In Florida, we did that. We created a coordinated,
comprehensive strategy to deal with this great
challenge in our state. When I was governor, when I was elected I said I was going to create
a comprehensive strategy, and my first week, the
president of the Florida Senate convened a summit of about 400 people, law
enforcement officers, drug treatment providers, prevention coalition folks, people
in the recovery community, all of them together and we came together, convened in Tallahassee. It was my second week on the job, and we actually said it’s up to you to create the gesundheit. It’s up to you to create a
strategy to deal with this, and it was a bottom up approach from all around the state. The strategy was written up. I hired a guy named Jim
McDonna, one of the great public servants, a colonel in the army, served in the White House in the Clintion Administration in the
office of drug control, and came down to run our strategy, and we created a strategy,
went to the legislature, funded the languishing treatment programs, built 67 coalitions, prevention
coalitions in 67 counties. My wife was the madrina of
the prevention movement. Madrina means godmother, and she was literally called the madrina, and she travelled the state to mobilize the support of the prevention community, because it’s important. In fact, that’s the most important thing, if we can avoid the hardship all together, this country will be far better off, and that’s what she did. (applause) We expanded drug treatment by 25% in relatively short order
just in case you might have forgotten. I’m a conservative. I believe in limited government. I don’t think that every problem needs to be solved by more spending, but this was a huge priority and conservatives and
liberals alike believed it to be that way. We expanded drug treatment
inside of our prisons. We got our law enforcement
community much more engaged, and actually talking to
the treatment community for the first time. At least that’s what they said, and we dealt with the supply side along with the demand side, and each and every year we did something that if you’re serious about something, if you don’t measure it you don’t care. That’s what I believe. We benchmark it. We use the tobacco money that were pretty abundant back then,
I don’t know where they stand today, but tobacco money, we created the largest survey of youth and young adult
alcohol and drug use. Every year we would take this sample. I think it got up to 50,000 people. We identified how we were doing based on those suverys. We adjusted our strategy
each and every year. We didn’t say okay, now we
passed a law and that’s it. We actually were all in. We continued to build on the success of the first year, and each and every year the strategy was updated, and the net result was we saw dramatic reductions in alcohol use and tobacco of course, because that was, we had to show respect for that, so some of the funding that we got was related to that, and in the use of illegal drugs. Law enforcement played a
huge role in this as well in coordinating where it was necessary. I don’t know if you
remember the rave club deal. I don’t know if it happened
here in New Hampshire. In Florida it was one of the centers of the importation of
these extraordinarily dangerous drugs that
people though were really cool to take, and kids
would take these drugs, they’d go dance all night. They thought it was really interesting, wonderful thing to do. It destroys your brain for starters. It’s illegal, secondly. It was the wrong thing to think was cool in our culture we changed. We had a thing called operation heat rave. We coordinated a law
enforcement exercise to shut down every one of those heat rave clubs which were creating dangerous impacts for young people thinking
it was safe to do it. What I’m telling you is any strategy requires an all in approach. It requires mobilizing all
sectors of this effort. There is no one simple answer. Treatment by itself isn’t
gonna solve this problem. Creating stronger recovery communities, which is what I’ve
learned on my journey as a candidate for president from people at the Hope For New Hampshire efforts, and Melissa I just
appreciate your efforts in (applause) in teaching me this. The recovery movement by itself is not gonna solve this. Certainly law enforcement
isn’t gonna solve this by itself. Working together it can certainly happen. What’s the role of the federal government? Today I outlined or yesterday I outlined a strategy that’s quite
similar to the ones that I’m sure you’re talking about here and very similar to the
successful strategy we had when I was governor which focuses on prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and having
the federal governement play a partnership role, not a top down here’s how we’re gonna do it role. SAMSA is a great organization. We worked with them a
lot when I was governor, and my wife was on one
of their advisory boards. It’s a great organization, but it can be a lot better and a lot more outcomes based in terms of which programs they fund, and I pledge to you if I’m
president of the United States, not just SAMSA, but the
other programs where billions of dollars are spent,
there’s gonna be an outcome measurement, because you
can’t just spend money and not get a good result. The taxpayers of this country
are not going to accept that. They demand excellence in government just as we do as consumers. We demand higher quality products. The services that the
federal government provides needs to be as high quality as well. We need to engage law enforcement. One of the reasons why
people now are planning legal prescription drugs, opiates for supplanting heroin, using heroin instead is that abundance of
heroin is extraordinary, and the cost is extraordinary low, and it’s power is sadly very very potent, and so the responsibility
of the federal government has to be to coordinate
with local law enforcement and with your great sheriff
here in this county, but across the region
to make sure that the heitas are intense and focused and making sure that there’s
interdiction efforts to deal with the people that
are making tons of money on the backs of people
that are really struggling, and at the border we better
start closing the border and shutting it down so
that these potent drugs don’t continue to poison our communities. I believe we can solve this, but it has to be from
a bottom-up approach. My personal belief is that America does best from the bottom-up, and that the federal
government should be a partner for successful programs
rather than telling which line you’re supposed to get in, which form you’re supposed to fill out. What we should do is go
back to the community based model that has always been successful, and in doing so we will
yield a far better result. (applause) And as part of that
strategy I would suggest that every state expand drug
courts just as we did in Florida, starting the first
drug court in the country was started in Dave County with Janet Reno when she was state
attorney many, many years ago, and under my watch we expanded it across the entire state, and I
think that has to be part of a comprehensive strategy as well. We need to be a second chance nation. We need to recognize
that restoring people’s chance to be able to live a
life of purpose and meaning doesn’t just deal with the illness of drug addiction. It also deals with giving
them a chance to get a job and to do the other
things and drug courts provide that opportunity. It provides a stick, because if you don’t follow the rules that the judge lays out. You’re gonna actually have to fulfill the sentence that you were convicted of, or that you were about
to be prosecuted on, but if you do finish
it, you get your rights back and you can start on
your life’s journey again, that’s how America
works at it’s very best, and I think all of this
together is a proper approach to deal with this. The final thing I’ll say is that look, this is apart from the person sadness
that anybody that’s gone through this, this which is incredibly difficult and challenging. This is a national calling. It has to be locally
driven, inspired by people acting on their heart for whatever reason it is to be able to get involved, but this should be a much higher priority. We should figure out a way to talk about this without all the stigmas attached to it, that’s one of the challenges is when you think about causes, people migrate towards the ones, you know a hospital that’s taking care of, a community hospital that’s
taking care of people that are sick, or the gallas that exist, the challenges. People migrate towards the
causes that are uplifting. This should be an uplifting cause. This should be a cause that people really feel good about, that they’re involved in. We need to eliminate the
stigmas and the barriers so more and more people
get engaged in this, where they’re not embarrassed
to say that I have an illness that I now, I’m
in the road of recovery on, or I have a child who has a problem. (applause) If we do that, if we do that we fulfill one of the great promises of this country which is imagine a United States
with 300 plus million people where everybody can
reach their God given abilities, and drug addiction is one
of the things that holds people back, for sure. Alcohol addiction does the same. The challenges inside of family life because of it are enormous. If we can deal with this, we can solve any problem in the world and will lead the world. Thank you all very much. (applause) You want me to help you with that? You sure? – Thank you so much, I got it. – That’s impressive. – If we could do this interview
standing up, but I think – Ha ha, what do you think? My wife is five foot tall, and I’ve been married
to her for a long while, and I love her more than I
could describe to you all, and she told me that there’s
an inverse relationship between height and intelligence. (laugher) We can do it any way you want. – Please sit. – Yes ma’am. – See I’m five feet tall, but I have really big shoes on today. – They’re nice looking shoes. – Thank you. Welcome back to New Hampshire. Even the New Hampshire
people are complaining about how cold it is today. – It’s beautiful though. It’s actually extraordinarily
pretty out there, so be happy. – We have questions for
you that were submitted by attendees, co-hosts,
and local organizations. Are you ready? – Yeah. – Okay. – This one is submitted by
the national counsel for behavioral health. Currently we’re only
serving about 10 to 15% of those in need of treatment, which is the lowest
penetration of any disease or medical condition. As families struggle to find places for their loved ones to get treatment for addictions, community
based treatment centers struggle with how to
sustain their services with low rates and limited funding. How do you propose to support and expand these safety net providers to meet the overwhelming demand for services? – First of all, in my remarks
I should have mentioned that this is complex as it relates to diagnosis and treatment. I’m just as a dad, chasing after, finding solutions to this, and it is one of the most
confounding, confusing frustrating experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m kinda nerdy about, I’m curious about things and I like to find solutions to things, and drug addiction and mental
health challenges typically go hand and glove, at
least in my experience. There’s a lot of people that had dual diagnosis which makes
this even more complex, because the mind, the brain hasn’t had the same kind of commitment. We have not made the same
commitment to the discoveries of the neurological challenges. Some people are probably more prone to get addiction to alcohol and drugs than other
people, and it relates to their neurological makeup, and we have not done a good enough job just on research and development
to explore the brain, because inside of that brain, locked in that incredible computer is the solutions to dementia, which is
going to be a huge problem to alcoholism, to drug addiction, to many other things. I forgot to mention that. I think there is a research
element to this as well, and it would be quite
helpful as it relates to how these dual diagnosis
challenges can be dealt with, and how treatment needs to constantly be adapting
to the new technolgies and new discoveries that
hopefully we’re gonna find. I think the best way to expand services. I mentioned the bottom-up approach. I think that’s important. Sometimes the incumbents get to use as Northlore expression, they get their snouts closer
to the front of the trough where the high grade slop is. You guys say that up here? (laughter) Doesn’t look like you do. (laughter) But that’s what they do. They become incumbents. They get large. They get bureaucratic. They hire the lobbyists. They get the compliance officers. They can fill out the forms. They can do all this stuff, and it makes it harder for the challengers if you will, the start ups that might have better ideas on how to deal with treatment to even get started, and so one of the things
I think is important is to constantly be aware of eliminating the bureaucracies and focused on outcomes, and take some chances along the way. (applause) Government is way too risk adverse. I always found this when we
tried to do something different it didn’t happen just like all hell broke loose. The newspapers, what an
idiot for trying this and stuff, and my job was
always to have the back of the people who were trying to innovate and say hey, we didn’t
get it right this time. We’re gonna try it again. That’s the approach that we need, and then we need more funding where it’s outcome based. if you have success, why would you not fund more of it, because it saves a ton
of money down the road, I can promise you that just in terms of the criminal justice
system and the interaction inside the courts. You go, like I did, go sit in a family court, in a child welfare court. In fact, there probably is
one judge here in Manchester might be exclusively focused on that. Do it, go sit with him or her and see how it plays out, and what you’ll find is
drug addiction is a common denominator in spousal
abuse, in all sorts of child abuse, and so
imagine if we moved closer to a drug free community,
you’re saving a lot of money. I think funding success
and constantly challenging the incumbents it may
not be as successful. If it doesn’t get the desired results, we shouldn’t fund it. The best way to get a better result is not funding failure
and funding success. – Next question just
submitted by Partnership for Drug Free Kids. To end the opioid
epidemic, our best solution is to prevent addiction from beginning in the first place. What types of prevention strategies would you promote in your presidency? – Same ones I did as governor. I would unleash Columba Garnica de Bush on the subject. (laughter) And she did a pretty darn good job. She travelled the state, mobilized, and encouraged, got these coalitions that were, some of them were well
established in the big cities like Miami de, but others didn’t exist at all. She encouraged them, nurtured them, got them more engaged. We brought resources to them, because typically they’re underfunded, and it worked. The other thing that
she did that I think is important is we connected
with the schools. and my wife’s passions are the arts in general, but arts and education, and we got a lot of the
arts and education community to get involved in this as well, because it was actually
pretty good therapy for people for kids that had problems. It was really an interesting. I had not clue about this stuff. This is why, one of the
real advantages I have that other people I look at that
are thinking about running the big dogs on the
stage that know it all, got it all figured out is, I learned long enough ago
to know what I don’t know and it’s a huge advantage,
because when you know what you don’t know, you actually then can
go seek out the truth. You can actually, if you
have enough curiosity you can get really smart on things. I got smarter on this, just watching my wife in action, and I think
that is one of the things that could be the public roles of people
in high profile public life. You can focus on a lot of things, and I think having a first
lady that is focused on this along with her husband could helpful I think. (applause) – Your next question comes
from the DEA Educational Foundation. – The which? – DEA – Oh really? – Mhmm. – His name is Bill. – Bill. – I was speaking with a
representative from EG’s office in a midwestern state recently. He believed that the Mexican Drug Cartels were a much bigger threat to the US than ISIS, Alqueda, and
the Taliban combined. Nearly 48,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2014. What would you do to reduce this ever growing threat? – Well Bill, I don’t know if you’re here, but I respectfully disagree with the assertion, not that
the drug cartels aren’t a huge challenge, I just think ISIS, the threats on Western
civilization are real, and I wouldn’t discount
them to make that case, but that’s just me. Having said that, we have to engage with Mexico in partnership to not just encourage them, but demand that they take stronger action. They’ve made good progress, but there’s so much more to do, and controlling the border is obviously, I mean if you’re concerned
about national security like I am, if you’re concerned about ISIS, then you need to secure the border. If you’re concerned about an
open border as it relates to low cost heroin making
it’s way to New Hampshire, you have a common interest, need to secure the border. If you’re concerned about public heath challenges in general, we
need to secure the border. If you’re concerned about the rule of law, that people come here
illegally at the expense of people that patiently wait, and I think that’s
another element of this. You should be focused on better strategies to secure the border, and we can do this. We’ve done it. You know where most of the illegal drugs came into the country 15 years ago? Florida. People have kind of
already forgotten about the Meding drug cartel and the Colombians back when the age they also imported heroin that it was back when cocaine was the drug of choice, most of that drug flow came through South Florida, and Florida in general,
and two things happened. One, the federal government
worked in partnership with the state, and they
stopped the flow, literally, stopped it because the
Navy and the Coast Guard forward leaned into the Caribbean, and we had great
cooperation with our efforts and local South Florida law enforcement. They had effect of that along with Oreba’s effort to wipe out the
drug cartel in Colombia, which was quite effective,
was that it moved to Mexico, and now we
have this land bridge that is the big challenge, and I think we need to replicate the success that the United States had in stopping the flow of drugs into
Florida 10, 15 years ago and similarly, Colombia’s
great success when Avo Orrebei was president to shut
down the drug cartel. We need to cooperate just
as we did with Colombia. – What has happened between then and now to make it so much worse that we’re talking epidemics? – I don’t know if it’s we’ve had sadly, I think we’ve
had many more overdoses, but drug addiction has been
with us for a long while. I’m not sure that it’s necessarily, a family member that was suffering with drug addiction in 2005, suffered the same suffering
then for 10 years later, so it’s bad, it’s been
bad across the board. i think that what we’ve, it’s harder to control
the border, a land border that long, but we haven’t
done the task yet, that’s clear, and that’s
gotta be the first priority of the federal government. The rest of partnering
and all that, I think they’re more than capable of handling, but the thing that you have to have is a federal government
that’s committed to enforcing the immigration laws and our border. – Next question is submitted by faces and voices of recovery. Providing alcohol and drug
abuse treatment and community based recovery support
services instead of jail has proven to be one of the surest ways to put drug dependent adults
on the path to recovery. Also to prevent juveniles
with drug problems from becoming adult criminals. Do you agree with providing treatment and recovery support as an
alternative to incarceration and also, do you support
treating addiction as a public health issue,
not a criminal justice issue? – I don’t agree that it’s
singularly a public health issue at the expense of saying that’s it not, it’s also a criminal, I think it’s both, and I
think you’re gonna lose support if you try to say
it’s one or the other. I think we need a totally
comprehensive approach on it, so to answer the
second part of the question, and I do think that we
need to have alternatives to incarceration. Here’s an interesting fact. In Florida, I mentioned
what we did through drug courts, which was I think continues to be a model for other
parts of the country. The investment in that, the spending to build the infrastructure
for drug courts, it’s not, it’s extensive, but the next effect is
you’re reducing incarceration costs dramatically, and
those are far higher per person, so I think that makes sense. Here’s the interesting fact that this whole effort to penalize people that were using drugs or selling drugs has created a federal prison population that were 50% of all
federal prisoners are there for drug related crimes, 50%. I don’t know what it is in New Hampshire, but in Florida it’s like 20%, maybe even lower than that now, and that 50% number I
think is way too high. We have minimum mandatory
sentences for users that I think needs to be reevaluated. For dealers, they oughta
be put away forever as far as I’m concerned. I have no problems with that, (applause) but users I think we have to be a second chance country. We have to have restorative justice in that regard, and here’s
a place where the left and right have actually
converged together. Interesting that Washington
is so dang dysfunctional that even when they agree
they can’t get things done. (laugher) The president is now decided he’s going to use his executive powers of clemency to reduce sentences for
people, which is fine, but why shouldn’t he
go to Congress and work with conservatives that
believe what I just stated, that believe that we oughta figure out a way to reduce these
minimum mandatory sentences. Wouldn’t that be a better solution? Where actually cats and
dogs could leave in perfect harmony just for a brief moment when they agree on something? I mean it is ridiculous, and as president you
have a responsibility to find common ground with people that may not agree with you on much, but on that one particular thing they do, what we need to have is a pause button and say hey, I just
heard you say you agree with me and I agree with
you, maybe we should go do something about it,
and then move on to the big food fight on something
else where you don’t agree, but at least on the stuff we agree and this is one of those convergences, someone needs to strike
when the irons hot. – Next question is from the ASAM, A-S-A-M. There are now a number of – Oh, we don’t know. – A-S-A-M, I don’t know. Does someone know what that is? American Society for Addiction Medicine. – Addiction medicine, okay. Thank you. – There are now a number
of effective treatments for opioid addiction, but there are often restrictions on access
to these treatments. As president, what
would you do to increase the appropriate use of these medications? – I don’t know enough about the subject, so back to the point of
knowing what I don’t know. I don’t know, so whoever has that question you can talk to me afterwards, or you can email me at, please don’t record this. (laughter) What the hell, jebbajeb.org and teach me. I don’t know what the addiction medicines. You’re the guy? – [Voiceover] There’s
limit of 100 patients that’s certified to keep the morphine. We can’t see any more than that, or the DEA comes down on us, and part of the data 2000 law and there are bills in Congress now to remove the cap for certain petitions so that they can have greater access. In our practice we
could add another one to 2,000 patients, but we can’t right now because of the gap. – Certainly sounds like it’s
worth considering, for sure. You don’t have to email me. You can if you’d like. – Still speaking of the prescriptions, do you support increased funding for any expansion of the use of naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. – I do, and I wouldn’t have known anything about this had I not been
a candidate for president been coming here, and talking to law enforcement officers. We had a roundtable discussion, sheriff about a month and a half ago where this came up all the time, and I do support it based on the saving of lives. It’s been extraordinary here. – I guess just a final question. I know that we’ve all got
some time constraints today – I don’t, I’m happy stay. – Oh, you can stay, great, great. (cheering) However, when you did
decide to run for president, you knew of course you’d
be spending plenty of time here in New Hampshire,
but did you ever think like many of us, did you ever think that this would be such an issue
right here in New Hampshire? – No, I didn’t, and it
was my first official trip I think, maybe the second one where it hit me like a brick wall where at the hotel that
we normally stay in, two people had loved ones that died of an overdose in the last six months, and I met two other
people that had a similar experience in that same day. I mean, four people who had that look that I described, but imagine losing, I’m sure there may be people in this room that have had this
experience losing a loved one from an overdose like that, and if that doesn’t awaken you to the fact that this is a serious
issue, it can’t all just, look anecdotes matter. Your own personal life
experience matters a lot. You can’t all be about some
kind of esteteric policy. You don’t have a heart
for people after going through that experience
and seeing the look on their faces. They describe it to you. You don’t have a whole lot of humanity so my experience, and now, by the way, so you don’t feel like you’re
alone in New Hampshire, this is a national problem now. It may have risen dramatically
in New Hampshire first, but it is a national problem, and it’s a huge problem in the midwest, and if you take the whole
spectrum of drug abuse, whether it’s methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, a lot
of the prescription drugs which we haven’t talked about. That is a problem by itself. It’s not just a gateway drug to heroin. It’s a problem. We’re overprescribing way too much. Put aside, I mean the
gateway element of this is bad, but my daughter got into problems with a prescription drug. It wasn’t an illegal drug, and one of the solutions to this by the way, the
interconnectivity between legal prescribed drugs and illegal use is prescription drug databases, and I would hope that New Hampshire would follow the lead of Florida
that had a dramatic reduction in prescription
drug abuse when we could monitor prescription shoppers, doctor shoppers, pharmacy shopper, people, pharmacists that
might be overprescribing to make more money, doctors, the small
fraction of doctors that are doing this for material gain that are poisoning communities. If you have the accurate data, you can protect privacy rights, and you can use it as an effective tool to
dramatically reduce this. These pill mills in
South Florida that we had were horrible. We were the worst in the country. Thanks to the attorney
general in our state in the last three years it’s
literally been wiped out. The reason why I think treatment and law enforcement need
to go hand and glove is that’s how you solve this problem. You solve it both on the supply side and on the use side, and so a comprehensive strategy seems to me to be the best way to go. – Governor Bush, thank
you so much for your time. (applause) – Thank you. Take care.

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