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Jeb Bush shares his daughter's struggle with drugs

Noelle Bush, center, stands in front of her father Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as Judge Reginald Whitehead enters the courtroom during her final appearance in drug court on Friday, Aug. 8, 2003, in Orlando, Fla. Noelle Bush completed a drug rehabilitation program Friday and a judge allowed her to go home with her parents.
AP

Last Updated Jan 5, 2016 11:33 PM EST

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush opened up about his family's experience with drug abuse in a post on Medium that talks about the "heartbreak" he felt when his daughter, Noelle, had an addiction.

"I never expected to see my precious daughter in jail. It wasn't easy, and it became very public when I was Governor of Florida, making things even more difficult for Noelle. She went through hell, so did her mom, and so did I," Bush wrote. "It's very debilitating when you have a loved one who is struggling, and you can't control it. You have to love them, but you also have to make it clear you cannot enable the behavior that gets them in trouble."

At a campaign stop in Dover, New Hampshire, Bush was asked by a reporter whether he had asked his daugher's permission to share her story.

"I told her I was going to do it and I asked her if it was okay," he said. "I knew she was going to say 'yes' because we had talked about -- not in an overt way -- but it just dawned on me that this event was likely to be a place where I was to talk about this, and it's not easy, no. We went through hell. It's not easy at all. But I'm proud of her - I really am."

His daughter's drug addiction became public while he was serving as Florida's governor when Noelle Bush was arrested and struggled through court-ordered treatment. Bush wrote that she showed "courage" when she graduated from drug court and praised the model including the judiciary, the prosecution, mental health specialists, social services and treatment professionals.

On Tuesday, he spoke about his plan to combat drug addiction at the New Hampshire Forum on Addiction & the Heroin Epidemic. New Hampshire has been struggling to contain a heroin epidemic, and the issue has made its way into presidential politics.

"It is imperative to reduce both the demand and supply if treatment and recovery programs are going to work," Bush wrote in the post. He outlined his multi-pronged plan, which includes working to begin drug abuse and addiction prevention during childhood, strengthening the criminal justice response to the epidemic by helping nonviolent offenders receive treatment and increasing punishments for sales, stopping the flow of illegal drugs across the border, and improving treatment and recovery programs.

"It will take real leadership that makes solving the problem a top priority. I've successfully fought this epidemic as a Governor, but more importantly, I've experienced it as a father," he wrote.

CBS News Digital Journalist Jacqueline Alemany contributed to this story.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.