Washington, May 6: Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who was involved in a car crash on Thursday night, said he will enter a rehabilitation programme for his addiction to pain killers.
''I know that I need help,'' the Rhode Island Democrat said at a press conference here yesterday, detailing what he called a long-term struggle with depression and addiction.
''I struggle every day with this disease, as do millions of Americans,'' Mr Kennedy said.
He said he would be traveling to Minnesota to seek help at the Mayo Clinic, where he was treated during the congressional recess at Christmas for an addiction to prescription pain medication. He said he returned ''reinvigorated and healthy''.
Mr Kennedy, 39, said he had no recollection of the crash into a barricade on Capitol Hill early Thursday morning.
He said in a statement on Thursday evening that he was apparently disoriented at the time of the crash after taking the prescribed amounts of sleep-aid medication and an anti-nausea drug.
''I am deeply concerned about my reaction to the medication and my lack of knowledge of the accident that evening. But I do know enough to know that I need to seek expert help,'' he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Mr Kennedy's father Sen Edward Kennedy (Democrat from Massachusetts) said that he has ''enormous respect for the work Patrick has done''.
''All of us in the family admire his courage in speaking publicly about very personal issues, and fully support his decision to seek treatment,'' he said.
''He has taken full responsibility for events that occurred.'' Patrick Kennedy identified the drug as Phenergan, ''which in addition to treating gastroenteritis, I now know can cause drowsiness and sedation.'' Officers at the scene reported that Kennedy staggered out of the car, but said their supervisors would not let them administer a sobriety test.
Police are investigating both the crash and whether Kennedy received preferential treatment.
Mr Kennedy he did not ask for any special treatment and has promised to fully cooperate with investigators.
He also admitted that no alcohol was involved, but that he had taken two prescription medications.