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US Rep Kennedy released from drug rehab clinic

Written by: Staff
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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, June 5 (Reuters) US Rep Patrick Kennedy, son of Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been released from a drug rehab program a month after crashing his car and seeking help for dependency on prescription drugs.

Kennedy, who has acknowledged suffering from depression and abusing alcohol and prescription drugs for years, was to make his first public appearance today after being discharged on Friday from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Kennedy, 38, crashed his car into a Capitol Hill security barrier on May 4. The nephew of President John F. Kennedy said he was disoriented after taking sleeping pills and other medication. He was charged with three driving violations.

The clinic said Kennedy had completed his treatment but might need to return for follow-up visits later.

''Congressman Kennedy's doctors are encouraged by his progress and have worked with him to put in place a stringent system of after-care that may include periodic visits to Mayo Clinic for continued health care consultations,'' it said.

Kennedy was also a patient last winter at the clinic, receiving care for his addiction.

He was scheduled to speak at a conference on mental health at Brown University in his home state of Rhode Island later today after spending the weekend with family and friends in Washington, said his spokeswoman Robin Costello.

In a statement after the crash, Kennedy said he had been ''fighting this chronic disease since I was a young man.'' He said he wanted to continue his political career.

According to a police report of the incident, Kennedy's 1997 Ford Mustang was traveling ''at a high rate of speed'' on a street close to the Capitol. It swerved into the wrong lane, hitting a barrier.

Kennedy said he did not recall the crash.

REUTERS SRS PM2035

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