June 5, 2006

Rep. Kennedy released from drug rehab clinic

By Richard C. Lewis

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Reuters) - U.S. Rep. Patrick
Kennedy, son of Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy,
has been released from a drug rehab program a month after
crashing his car and seeking help for dependency on
prescription drugs.

Kennedy, who has acknowledged suffering from depression and
abusing alcohol and prescription drugs for years, was to make
his first public appearance on Monday after being discharged on
Friday from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Kennedy, 38, crashed his car into a Capitol Hill security
barrier on May 4. The nephew of President John F. Kennedy said
he was disoriented after taking sleeping pills and other
medication. He was charged with three driving violations.

The clinic said Kennedy had completed his treatment but
might need to return for follow-up visits later.

"Congressman Kennedy's doctors are encouraged by his
progress and have worked with him to put in place a stringent
system of after-care that may include periodic visits to Mayo
Clinic for continued health care consultations," it said.

Kennedy was also a patient last winter at the clinic,
receiving care for his addiction.

He was scheduled to speak at a conference on mental health
at Brown University in his home state of Rhode Island later on
Monday after spending the weekend with family and friends in
Washington, said his spokeswoman Robin Costello.

In a statement after the crash, Kennedy said he had been
"fighting this chronic disease since I was a young man." He
said he wanted to continue his political career.

According to a police report of the incident, Kennedy's
1997 Ford Mustang was traveling "at a high rate of speed" on a
street close to the Capitol. It swerved into the wrong lane,
hitting a barrier. Kennedy said he did not recall the crash.