Ohio's lieutenant governor revealed Thursday that her two sons have struggled with opioid addiction, adding her family to the thousands affected by the nation's prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic.
"Like many Ohioans, my family is struggling with addiction, and the opiate crisis has, you know, it's come in my front door," Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said in making the revelation to the Dayton Daily News.
She said Ohio's second family has been at times in crisis over the past five years, describing failed drug rehab programs, two overdoses at the family's home and urgent calls for ambulances.
Taylor, a Republican who is planning to run for governor, said her sons — Joe, 26, and Michael, 23 — are now doing well, though one son remains in drug treatment.
"It's take it one day at a time, one day at a time," she said.
Taylor, 51, declined to discuss further details about the family situation, but she appeared to link the start of her sons' addictions to prescription pain pills. Her state office also declined further interviews on the topic, calling it a "very personal situation."
"She is a mom first and a public official second and the health of her sons is and always will be her primary concern," said spokesman Michael Duchesne. "While she was willing to share some of her family's struggles in the hopes that her story can help others, she is concerned that shining a further spotlight on her sons' lives will not be beneficial to their long term recovery at this time."
Taylor has served alongside GOP Gov. John Kasich since 2011, and he has said he would endorse her bid for governor.
"Mary and I have discussed this situation for an extended period of time," Kasich said in a statement. "As a dear friend I have encouraged her and her family during this extremely difficult journey, and I will continue to lift her family up in my prayers."
Taylor's office said the Kasich administration continues "to use every resource at our disposal to fight this epidemic and Lt. Governor Taylor will continue to be a leader in that battle."
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