Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzWounded Ryan faces new battle The mystery of Ivanka Trump Conservatism's worst enemy? The Freedom Caucus. MORE (R-Texas) recounted his older half-sister’s struggles with drug addiction and eventual death during an emotional speech Thursday.
“These tragedies are happening in human lives all over this country — it’s the human journey,” the GOP presidential candidate said at Emanuel Baptist Church in Hooksett, N.H., according to CNN. "It’s fraught with peril and sometimes people make decisions bound and determined to destroy themselves.
Cruz was describing Miriam Cruz, one of two children from his father Rafael Cruz’s first marriage. He said she resented her parents’ divorce and eventually turned towards prescription painkillers.
“Every one of us who has dealt with these demons — or who has dealt with loved ones grappling with these demons — everyone knows that these are personal journeys,” Cruz said.
“Faith and a relationship with God can be a powerful, powerful element in turning that around,” he added, citing his father’s own method for escaping alcohol addiction.
Cruz added that he tried intervening in his half-sister’s issues but could not convince her she needed rehabilitation.
“She wouldn’t listen,” he said. "She kept going on and on. She was angry. She said, ‘Daddy missed my swim meet when I was in high school.' I remember telling her, ‘Miriam, you’ve got a son, Joey. He needs you.' ”
Cruz’s campaign memoir, “A Time for Truth,” reveals that Miriam Cruz died at age 49. His speech in New Hampshire comes as the Granite State increasingly grapples with an epidemic of heroin and opiate-based painkiller addiction there.
Cruz’s story is not the first time Republican White House hopefuls have tried humanizing drug addiction during the 2016 race.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie detailed his longtime friend’s struggles with narcotics in a speech that eventually went viral. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, meanwhile, have also opened up about losing loved ones to drug addiction.