GOP Congressman Will Take Leave of Absence, Enter Rehab After Cocaine Bust

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 21 2013 9:54 AM

GOP Congressman Headed to Rehab After Cocaine Bust

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U.S. Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) speaks during a press conference, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Trey Radel announced Wednesday night that he will take a leave of absence from Congress to enter rehab. The announcement came the same day that the Florida Republican pleaded guilty in a D.C. court to buying cocaine from an undercover agent late last month. Radel was sentenced to one year of probation for the misdemeanor.

The 37-year-old lawmaker said he plans enter "intensive inpatient treatment" immediately, and while on leave will donate his salary to charity. While he has apologized for his actions and spoken openly about what he says is his addiction to alcohol, he has given no indication that he has considered resigning from Congress.

"I believe in faith, I believe in forgiveness and redemption," Radel said Wednesday night. "And I hope if there’s anything positive that can come of this … it's that I hope I can be a role model for millions of others that are struggling with this disease."

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Radel was arrested on Oct. 29. He was charged Tuesday with cocaine possession, and sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty. According to the Associated Press, Radel is the first sitting congressman to be charged with a drug offense since 1982.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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