Trey Radel was Florida’s 19th district representative until January 27, 2014, when he resigned following an October 2013 arrest. While in Washington D.C. last October, Radel was busted as part of a sting operation in which the Republican congressman bought 3.5 grams of cocaine for $250 from an undercover agent. Radel served just one year as his district’s representative.
News of Radel’s arrest broke on Politico, after which, his office supplied a statement citing Radel’s ongoing struggle with alcoholism as the primary culprit for his actions last fall. Radel said his alcoholism “led to an extremely irresponsible choice.” He went on to admit he needed help so that he could become a better man for his wife and son. Radel even went so far as to say the arrest had an upside. “It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling,” he said.
Finishing rehab but raising eyebrows
While the congressman committed to seeking rehabilitation help for his addiction issues, in his original statement he made no mention of resignation plans. The omission signaled that Radel instead planned to keep his post in Florida’s 19th district, a notion that did not sit well with his fellow Republicans, nor the state’s governor, Rick Scott.
In late December, the Washington Post reported that Radel had completed his rehabilitation and that he’d decided that he would indeed be returning to congress the first week of January. “I look forward to getting back to work next week representing my neighbors in Southwest Florida,” he said in a statement.
Pressure from his Congress colleagues would not relent, however. On January 27th, Radel changed his career plans in an official letter to House Speaker John Boehner. “Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences,” Radel said in the resignation letter. “While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I call home, Southwest Florida.”
The powerful stronghold of addiction
Addiction does not discriminate against wealth, race, religion or any other demographic. Even those in lofty positions are powerless against its grips, as clearly evidenced by Congressman Radel’s story.
If you are dealing with addiction issues of your own, or struggling with how to help a loved one who’s battling dependence on drugs and/or alcohol, don’t wait to get help. Contact The Watershed today: 1-800-861-1768.