Patrick Kennedy Is 'Better' After Treating Dependency
By JOHN HOLUSHA
Published: June 6, 2006
Representative Patrick J. Kennedy said yesterday that he felt much better
after almost a month's treatment in the Mayo Clinic for drug dependency, and
that he was looking forward to resuming his duties.
But he said that he continued to suffer from bipolar disorder and a tendency
toward addiction, and will need help from a support group to avoid a
"The key to recovery will be a small group of people who will watch over
me," he said at a televised news conference.
Mr. Kennedy said, as he has before, that he had not been drinking before an
early-morning car accident near the Capitol in Washington on May 4, even
though the police on the scene said he appeared to be intoxicated. Mr.
Kennedy said the police had canvassed bars in the District of Columbia
seeking evidence of his drinking but were unable to find any. Rather, he
said, he was under the influence of prescription antinausea and sleep
medications, which he had taken at the "prescribed amount."
The question-and-answer session came after Mr. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode
Island, helped to open a conference on the future of mental health care and
addiction treatment at Brown University in Providence.
"I can tell you today, I feel confident of my health," he said at the health
conference, adding that he was "positive about my future."
He was discharged from the clinic, in Rochester, Minn., on Friday and spent
the weekend with relatives in Washington before returning to Rhode Island on
Sunday night. His private medical insurance policy paid for the stay in the
clinic, he said.
The event was Mr. Kennedy's first public appearance since checking himself
into the clinic on May 5, the day after the auto accident. Mr. Kennedy has
said he has no memory of the crash or of his subsequent encounter with the
Capitol Police, who charged him with three traffic violations.
Mr. Kennedy, the son of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, put his drug taking in
the larger context of mental illness. "I didn't know how miserable I was
until I started to be feeling better," he said of his time at the clinic.