U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy has checked into an unnamed medical facility for help with his recovery from substance abuse, the Rhode Island Democrat said in a statement Friday.
In May 2006, Kennedy, the son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a day after slamming his car into a security barricade on Capitol Hill. At the time, Kennedy said he had been suffering from addictions and depression since he was a young man. “I have always said that recovery is a life-long process and that I will do whatever it takes to preserve my health,” Kennedy, 41, wrote in Friday’s release. “In consultation with my doctors, I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery. I hope that in some small way my decision to be proactive and public in my efforts to remain healthy can help remove the stigma that has served as a barrier for many Americans reluctant to get the help they need.” A Democratic aide declined to say what facility is providing treatment or how long Kennedy might be there. Kennedy left for treatment earlier this week, said a close associate who didn’t want to be identified. Since the 2006 incident, the associate said, Kennedy often goes to the Mayo Clinic for one- or two-day stints without anyone knowing. This time, Kennedy and his aides realized the stay would be longer and more aggressive and decided to put out a statement. There was no “culminating event” this time, the associate said, and he did not think it was related to Edward Kennedy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer. “He’s human,” the source said of Patrick Kennedy. “He has good days and bad days. This is a part of his effort to make sure there are more good days than bad days.”