Christie: I'll end 'the stigma' of drug addiction
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Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) says he will bring the issue of drug abuse into the open and end the "stigma" of addiction if elected president.

“What every family out there knows ... is that they are just one bad decision away from having a family ruined by drugs in this country, whether it’s heroin or prescription drugs,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

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“I’ve seen it,” he continued. "I’ve felt it. I’ve spoken to people all across the country about it.

"And I’m going to be the president who’s going to take the stigma away from this, the moral judgments away from it and to help families rebuild themselves,” Christie added.

The presidential candidate said the focus should be on rehabilitation rather than incarceration for those struggling with drugs.

“The cost of incarcerating a person in New Jersey is $49,000 a year,” he said. "The cost of giving them one year in-patient drug treatment is $24,000 a year.

Christie said the number of people incarcerated in New Jersey had gone down 10 percent in the last three years.

“What I am doing is taking that money, moving it from corrections and moving it towards treatment,” he added. "And we’ll do the same thing with the federal government.”

Christie’s remarks follow his performance at the GOP’s fourth presidential debate Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Wis. He was relegated to the evening’s undercard debate after missing Fox Business Network’s threshold for national polling numbers.

Christie is attracting increased attention from voters, however, for his frank comments on drug addiction.

He released a video late last month pleading for more tolerance of those who struggle with compulsive behaviors.

“It can happen to anyone,” he said of addiction in the clip. "We need to start treating people in this country, not jailing them. Every life is precious [and] every life is an individual gift from God.”

The six-minute video has since gone viral, attracting more than 8 million views after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared it on Nov. 4.