25 Government Officials Caught Using Drugs

No, were not talking about Obama's admissions to using "blow" and "marijuana", there's enough going on to talk about without pounding the issue of a president who has admitted to using illegal drugs.

In recent weeks, public figures have dominated the print and electronic media for struggling with their addiction, with plagued Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Florida Rep. Trey Radel at the forefront of disgrace.

Are we witnessing an increasing trend towards substance abuse by government officials?

Unfortunately, it sure seems that way...

Even our politicians and government officials are part of that for years. Over the past decades, they have been caught with a variety of abusive substances, ranging from marijuana to pills, crystal meth, and crack.

As we can see, no one is safe from addiction.

It's a serious problem that we are dealing with, but thank goodness there is hope with effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs!

It's never really a problem until it hits home.

How big of a problem is determined by how close to home it hits.​

Here is a list of 25 government officials who struggled with alcohol and drug problems.


1. Rob Ford


The current Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada has been embroiled in a series of substance abuse scandals. The national and international media has been widely reporting all the controversies relating this tragicomic mayor.

Following months of denials, Ford finally admitted last year to all of the incidents, including drinking and driving, public drunkenness, and smoking crack cocaine, after police discovering a video of smoking cocaine as evidence.

After days of speculation, on the 1st day of this month, Ford took a leave of absence from city hall and informed media that he would seek treatment for substance abuse.

Latest news (May 09, 2014): Rob Ford in rehab, doctor confirms to CBC News

2. Trey Radel


Last November, Rep. Trey Radel of Florida pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine. He was busted buying cocaine from an undercover cop. The D.C. Superior Court sentenced him to a year of probation. After his plea, he took a leave of absence from his work and informed media that he would undergo inpatient treatment for substance abuse. Last January, he finally resigned submitting a resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

Latest news (April 17, 2014): Trey Radel to refund more than $63,000 to donors.

3. Mel LeBlanc


On July 23, 2011, Mel LeBlanc, former Arlington City Council Member and Deputy Mayor, was found high on K2 and caught with a bag containing crystal meth and a glass pipe in his home. Two weeks prior this incidence, he just returned home from a drug detox center. But, unfortunately, his addiction to marijuana and methamphetamine relapsed. He later announced that he wouldn't run for the next re-election.

4. Dustin Grubbs


In September 2012, Dustin Grubbs, the mayor of Poulan, Georgia, was arrested and hit with several charges of drug possession, after being stopped for a simple vehicle violation. The mayor was found possessing a bag filled with 57 pills, including oxycodone and oxycontin -- two different mixtures of vicodin. He was sentenced to 3-years of probation under Willie Lockette, Judge of the Dougherty County.

5. Marion Barry


Barry, the mayor of Washington, D.C., was involved in one of the biggest political drug scandals in US history. He was arrested in 1990 for crack cocaine possession while serving as mayor. The FBI and DC police notoriously caught the hotel sting operation on camera. His ex-girlfriend helped FBI to catch him while smoking crack. He was sentenced to six months in federal prison.

6. Mike Crapo


On December 23, 2012, Crapo, a senior Senator from the state of Idaho, arrested for DUI in Arlington, Virginia. A routine patrol officer stopped him for running a red light. He then underwent several failed field sobriety tests, but he failed and found with a blood alcohol content of 0.11 percent (0.08 is the legal limit in Virginia). He was fined $250, received driving license suspension for a year, and sentenced to 180 days in jail.

7. Charles Imbrecht

In 1997, former Energy Commission chairman, California, Charles Imbrecht resigned amid charges of marijuana possession and drunk driving. Sheriff’s deputies allegedly found him with less than an ounce of weed in his pocket when weaving his Geo Prizm through Ventura. Imbrecht pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of abusive substance and sentenced to 40 days in the County Jail.

8. Steve Katz


In March 2013, a state trooper pulled over the New York state assemblyman, Katz , for speeding his car. He was then found with a bag of weed and considered as a pot user. However, as part of a plea deal, his charges of marijuana possession were dropped. Shockingly, a year before the incident, the official had spoken out against legalizing medical marijuana.

9. Denny Sparks


Sparks, a former mayor of Olive Hill Kentuckya, was arrested in November 2012 for allegedly selling marijuana -- near an elementary school -- to a police informant. He was charged with marijuana trafficking within 1,000 feet of a school, a felony. This was one of the shocking drug busts, of a politician, in the U.S. history. The scandal led Sparks to resign from his position.

10. Barry Layne Moore


Moore, a former mayor of Hampton, Florida, was arrested last November on drug charges, accused of selling and possessing Oxycodone. He was busted while tried to sell oxycodone tablets to an undercover cop around Thanksgiving. Moore was suspended from his office since then and submitted his resignation in last March. He is currently being held in jail on a $45,000 bail.

11. Joe Brennan


In August 2012, Brennan, the Rep. Pennsylvania state, was arrested on allegations that he assaulted his wife and drove drunk in Fountain Hill. He was sentenced to 90 days in prison on the DUI charges, which he already served. Brennan got work release in February 2013 and was released on parole by April 2013.

12. Willie Gandara Jr.


In February 2012, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration arrested former El Paso County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. on federal drug trafficking charges. The arrest of Gandara was part of a multi-agency investigation involving both the FBI and the IRS. In November 2012, he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

13. Ted Vick


In May 2013, South Carolina state Rep. Vick was arrested on a DUI charge while he was trying to drive away from the House of Representatives parking garage. A nearby cop suspected DUI after the officer saw him "struggling to drive in a straight line" and noting "an odor of alcohol" on his breath before he refused a breathalyzer. In defense, both Vick and his attorney insisted that he only had two glasses of wine and had a rock in his shoe.

14. Dirk Feldman


Feldman, a South African MP, was travelling on a flight, as part of an official parliamentary delegation, from Johannesburg to Mumbai in July 2012. He apparently had a few pegs too many. But he suddenly decided to leave the aircraft and started fumbling with the emergency exit door -- while the plane was about several thousand feet up in the air. He later apologized for the drunken incident.

15. Takuma Sakuragi

On October 31, 2013, Sakuragi, an assemblyman from central Japan's Aichi Prefecture, was arrested in China on drugs charges. He was allegedly found with 3kg of illegal stimulant (methamphetamine) when he was about to fly home from Guangzhou. If convicted, the 70 year old Sakuragi could face either a death penalty or lifetime prison sentence.


16. Bob Ney

In November 2006, Bob Ney, a disgraced Rep. of Ohio, was convicted on charges of corruption due to his involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. He blamed alcohol for his ethical lapses involving the scandal, although his connection to addiction was not clear. He checked into a rehab clinic and served a 30-month jail sentence.

17. Patrick Kennedy

In May 2006, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription medication after he crashed his car into a traffic barrier on Capitol Hill. Unlike other politicians, he admitted to abuse pain tablets and alcohol as an adult. He then sought help at the Mayo Clinic for an OxyContin addiction and entered rehabilitation shortly after. In 2009, he again checked into rehab.

18. Phil Crane

In 2000, Crane, the former Representative from Illinois, checked into a Maryland rehabilitation center for his alcohol abuse. He then took a leave from his job for a month to recover from years of addiction to alcohol. He was a promising candidate of President during Regan administration, but his drinking became an issue in the New Hampshire primary.

19. Mark Foley

On September 29, 2006, Mark Foley, a former US Representative, resigned from Congress for the allegation of sending sexually explicit instant messages to underage males, who were serving as Congressional pages. Soon after resigning from the office, he entered in a rehab to treat his alcohol addiction.

20. John Sullivan

Former US Representative John Sullivan was a member of Congress in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In May 2009, he took a leave of absence from his office for alcohol addiction treatment. He checked himself at the Betty Ford Center in California. After a month-long stay, he returned in July and planned to seek another term in office, but lost the 2012 republican primary election.

21. Karen McCarthy

In March 2003, former Rep. Karen McCarthy, district of Missouri, sought treatment for alcohol abuse because of a widely reported intoxication incident in which she fell down in a House office building. Following the incident, she didn't resign but later announced that she wouldn't run for a sixth term in 2004.

22. Gavin Newsom

In February 2007, Newsom, the former Mayor of San Francisco, announced that he would seek treatment for alcohol abuse. In a written statement, he then informed that he would be a better person without alcohol in his life, and problems with alcohol were not an excuse for his personal lapses in judgment. Newsom is currently serving as the 49th Lieutenant Governor of California, after being elected in 2010.

23. Frederick Richmond

In August 1982, Richmond, a former U.S. Representative from New York, was forced to resign from Congress after pleading guilty to both marijuana possession and tax evasion. He admitted to possessing several marijuana cigarettes, which he obtained from his congressional staff members.

24. Rod Blagojevich

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced (December 7, 2011) to 14 years in prison for corruption while in public office, requested a federal court for permission to enroll in a substance-abuse program. Although it was not clear whether he was suffering an abuse problem or not, but the US District Judge James Zagel approved his request and recommended to the US Bureau of Prisons for his admission in the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program.

25. John Fabrizi

In June 2006, former Bridgeport, Connecticut Mayor, John Fabrizi admitted to abuse cocaine and alcohol while serving as mayor, though he insisted that it never affected his job performance. After confessing his substance abuse, he didn't resign but stayed in office until his term finished. He later announced that he would not seek re-election in 2007.

26. President Barack Obama

Well touching the topic couldn't be avoided. Is it a tough pill to swallow, accepting that a US President has admitted to using illegal drugs, and as if it weren't really a big deal? Was he the only United States President to admit to such things? ​

Is there anything that we can do to help the leaders of our country and government? It seems as though most of these individuals would benefit from an effective dual diagnosis program with all the stress and pressure on them.

If addiction didn't carry such a stigma, would more come forth? Would they be able to adress the situation before they become a public disgrace?​

Did we miss any one, or a story that you
know of? 

What are your opinions about this kind of behavior?

Please let us know!

img attrib:http://parkbench.com

About the Author:

Kara Crow is a substance abuse treatment consultant. She joined The Recovery Way last year and has been working to develop and implement new treatment strategies, and to analyze addiction treatment services. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

Kara Crow – who has written posts on The Recovery Way.

4 responses to “25 Government Officials Caught Using Drugs”

  1. This is absolutely ridiculous. This thing about Rob Ford, it’s like the media makes him out to be a celebrity and no one seems to care he’s a government official using drugs. Is this what the world is coming to?

    • Jae V, unfortunately it looks that way. So many different behaviors never even thought to be spoken about in public are now common place and totally accepted.

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