Sen. Baldwin reveals personal story about mother's drug addiction

Childhood photo of Tammy Baldwin and mother Pamela Bin-Rella (Photo provided)
Childhood photo of Tammy Baldwin and mother Pamela Bin-Rella (Photo provided)(WBAY)
Published: May. 1, 2018 at 8:28 PM CDT
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Senator Tammy Baldwin is traveling the state to talk about drug addiction and how it's had a personal impact on her life.

Up until now, Baldwin hasn't talked much about her mother, who she says abused prescription drugs.

In a sit-down discussion with others impacted by drug abuse at the Appleton Public Library, Sen. Baldwin spoke about her mother, Pamela Joan Bin-Rella, who passed away last August at the age of 75.

Baldwin says she didn't die of a drug overdose but spent much of life in and out of treatment.

"So I saw her sort of spiral out of control a number of times, including since I was in the Senate," said Baldwin.

According to the senator, her mother abused narcotics prescribed for chronic back pain and other conditions.

It was so bad, Baldwin was raised by her grandparents starting at a very young age.

Baldwin said, "I don't think I blamed myself, but I would worry sometimes when my grandparents would pick me up and bring me home that she wouldn't be OK when I was gone, and that was scary for me."

Senator Baldwin hopes by sharing her story it will inspire others also affected by drug addiction to come forward and understand they're not alone in this fight.

Also a part of the discussion was Bev Kelley-Miller, who lost her daughter, Megan, at the age of 22 to heroin.

It's one of many stories Baldwin heard.

"What I will tell you is that this epidemic, this crisis, is personal. It's personal to me, it's personal to everyone around this table," she said.