Chiara de Blasio, the 19-year-old daughter of New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, posted a video on YouTube on Christmas Eve admitting to long term drug abuse. She blamed her addiction on clinical depression.
“I’ve had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence,” de Blasio says in the video. “It made it easier, the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people that I wouldn’t have. It didn’t start out as a huge thing for me but then it became a really huge thing for me.”
Chiara speaks in the video about drinking and smoking marijuana when she was in college.
De Blasio’s father defeated Republican candidate Joe Lhota last month to become New York’s first Democratic mayor in more than 20 years. The prime reason for his victory was an ability to connect with voters due partly to the appeal of his mixed-race family.
His team worked very hard to keep Chiara’s story out of the public eye. Now, her parents have sent an e-mail to supporters saying:
“As parents, our instinct has been to protect our daughter and privately help her through a deeply personal struggle. But not only has Chiara committed to her own health, she is also committed to helping young people everywhere who face similar challenges.”
The professionally made video was released under an account bearing Chiara de Blasio’s name. In the video, Chiara de Blasio says she has completed treatment and is now trying to reach out to others. She adds:
“It’s just important for people to realize, anybody who is watching this, that if you’re suffering and if you’re depressed, you’re dealing with mental illness, and you think that it might have something to do with your drug abuse or drinking, or if you’re just suffering from both of those at the same time and you think that they’re completely unrelated to one another; getting sober is always a positive thing.”
White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske issued a statement Tuesday afternoon praising Chiara for speaking out.
“By talking about addiction in the light of day — and by celebrating recovery out loud — we can help correct the misinformation and stigma that too often become obstacles for the millions of Americans who deserve to live healthy, productive lives,” Kerlikowske said.
Chiara De Blasio said that she decided to speak out “because people are suffering from this disease and dying from this disease every day. And we really can’t do anything as a society to help those people until we start talking about it. She added: “And nobody can do sobriety on their own.”