Using rehab to try and rebuild a career and reputation

Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who resigned from his congressional seat, entered an alcohol rehabilitation program this week after the disclosure that he sent sexual messages via computer to teenage boys working as congressional pages.

Following are politicians and celebrities who have recently entered rehabilitation programs after damaging scandals:

* September 2006 – U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican, checked into an alcohol treatment facility several days before agreeing to plead guilty to illegally accepting tens of thousands of dollars in trips, meals, drinks and tickets. "I have come to recognize that a dependence on alcohol has been a problem for me," Ney said in a statement, that added he was "not making any excuses." Ney is not seeking re-election.

* August 2006 – Actor Mel Gibson agreed to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and enroll in an alcohol abuse program in pleading no contest to a drunken driving charge. Gibson earlier apologized for an anti-Semitic tirade when he was stopped for speeding in Malibu, saying "please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite … Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

* May 2006 – U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the famous political family, sought treatment for an addiction to prescription painkillers after his late-night car crash into a Capitol Hill barricade. Kennedy said he had a long-term struggle with depression and addiction.

* April 2006 – Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was charged with fraudulently concealing information to obtain prescription drugs. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charge in exchange for his remaining in treatment for drug addiction and paying $30,000 to help cover costs of the investigation into his drug-buying activities.


© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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