New York mayor-elect’s daughter tells of substance abuse

December 24, 2013

The 19-year-old daughter of New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio opened up Tuesday about her personal struggles, saying she spent years battling substance abuse and depression.

Chiara de Blasio, a college sophomore who had a central role in her father’s campaign, appears in a surprise four-minute video released by the incoming mayor’s transition team. In it, she looks into the camera and says she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana to deal with clinical depression and anxiety.

“It made it easier, the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people,” she said, speaking under soft lights with piano music tinkling in the background. “It didn’t start out as, like, a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me.”

De Blasio said she eventually found success in group therapy at a treatment center in New York.

In a statement accompanying the video, Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, said they were “so proud of Chiara and love her deeply.”

Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug policy director, released a statement late Tuesday praising Chiara de Blasio’s decision “to give voice to the millions who suffer from substance abuse disorders.”

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