Trey Radel takes leave of absence

After pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, the GOP congressman announces he's taking a break to rehabilitate

By Elias Isquith

Published November 21, 2013 1:50PM (EST)

Describing his recent arrest for possession of cocaine as "a wakeup call," GOP congressman Trey Radel announced Wednesday night that he was taking a leave of absence from Congress in order to undergo rehabilitative therapy for addiction. Radel claims he will donate his salary to charity during his time away from Congress.

The freshman lawmaker, who was caught in a sting operation in late October, has said that alcoholism was to blame for his cocaine possession. “I’m struggling with this disease, but I can overcome it,” Radel said.

“I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse for what I’ve done,” he continued. “I’ve let down our country, I’ve let down our constituents, I’ve let down my family." Radel said his goal was to become "a better man."

"I want to be a better man for southwest Florida, and, most importantly, I want to be a better man for my family, my dad, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my wife and my little guy," Radel said.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Cocaine Drugs Gop Politico Rehabilitation Republican Party Trey Radel