A history of alcohol or drug addiction can be an Achilles heel for candidates, especially those seeking to become the state’s top cop.
But Ryan Torrens, a Democrat running for attorney general, is outing himself as a person in recovery.
Torrens, 32, intends to address his recovery fro alcoholism Sunday morning on WFLA.
Torrens’s open discussion of his journey to sobriety — which he said in a press release included support from family, counseling, and “the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous” — might raise eyebrows for “friends of Bill,” as they’re known in AA circles.
But Torrens, a foreclosure lawyer who lives in Odessa, says his personal experiences with addiction would give him a unique perspective as attorney general while the state is grappling with an opioid epidemic.
He’s hoping his personal story will help others to come out of the shadows.
“Because I have personally experienced the challenges of addiction, I understand what our fellow Floridians are going through as they suffer with their addiction in secrecy,” Torrens said in an interview with The News Service Friday afternoon.
Read the Torrens press release after the jump.
Here’s the press release:
TAMPA, FL – Ryan Torrens, Democratic candidate for Florida attorney general, will publicly discuss his past battle with alcohol addiction on WFLA, News Channel 8, this Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
“At one point in my life, it became apparent that I was experiencing a chemical dependency on alcohol, and I sought counseling and began attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Through the support of family, including my partner Francesca Yabraian, professional counseling, and the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I achieved sobriety,” said Torrens.
“I would never seek the honor of holding public office without the gift of sobriety,” said Torrens.
“As someone who has personally experienced the challenges of addiction, I believe this makes me particularly well-suited to tackle Florida’s opioid epidemic,” said Torrens.
“Our people are dying and our families are being destroyed by the ravages of opioid addiction. Many of our fellow Floridians are quietly battling drug addiction and are afraid to seek help due to the stigma of addiction,” said Torrens.
“It is time we end the stigma of addiction so that our fellow Floridians will come out of the shadows and seek the treatment they need,” said Torrens.
“The opioid dealers need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but we cannot solve this epidemic until we come together as a state to provide the treatment necessary to rescue our fellow Floridians from the throes of addiction,” said Torrens.
“Our people are desperate for leadership on this issue, and I am ready to provide that leadership. As a first step, I will soon be taking a private tour of the detox unit at The Oasis at Tampa Community Hospital and will be speaking with the hospital staff about this crisis. It is critical to listen, especially to those dealing with this crisis on the ground level on a daily basis,” said Torrens.
“My message to our people suffering from opioid addiction is clear: you too can achieve your dreams. You do not have to die as an addict. As fellow Floridians, we are here to help you once again become a contributing member of society. Together, we can heal the wounds of addiction,” said Torrens.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. This is a matter of life and death. While politicians in Tallahassee play political games, our people are dying every day. This is wrong. If elected attorney general, I will be prepared to tackle this issue on day one,” said Torrens.