De Blasio daughter opens up about substance abuse issues

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio's family shared a personal story on Christmas Eve, releasing a video featuring 19-year-old Chiara.

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio's family shared a personal story on Christmas Eve, releasing a video featuring 19-year-old Chiara.

 

In the mayor-elect's daughter explains that she has struggled with depression throughout her adolescence. Drugs and drinking seemed to make it easier to cope.

 

"It made it easier the more I drank and did drugs to share some common ground with people I wouldn't have," she recounts. "It didn't start as a huge thing for me but then it became a really big thing for me."

 

Leaving home for college posed a challenge, she says.

 

She expresses specific appreciation for her mother's efforts to help her through her issues this year — quickly acknowledging that her father, too, was supportive "but obviously he was really busy."

In the video, Chiara is emphatic about the importance of taking the issue seriously, insisting, "It's a disease."

"We're not providing enough treatment," she says, noting that people struggle and even die from alcohol and drug addiction daily.

The video drops a few national stats: apparently 28 percent of Americans struggle with excessive drinking, and 3.1 million are in need treatment.

She also explains her motivation to come forward with her experience.

"We really can't do anything as a society to help those people until we start talking about it," she says.

The revelation may explain an aggressive reaction from de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers when reporters wondered on Twitter earlier this year where Chiara was enrolled in college.

In the aftermath of the release of the video, it has become clear that most of the New York City press corps were aware of Chiara's substance abuse issues and chose not to publicize them.

The video ends with a message urging viewers struggling with depression or addiction to reach out for help, and plugs the website ok2talk.org, which also runs a hotline: 800-273-TALK.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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