Rep. Patrick Kennedy has ended nearly a month of treatment for addiction to prescription pain drugs and had an appearance scheduled Monday in his home state of Rhode Island.
Kennedy left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. on Friday.
“The congressman was discharged after completing his treatment at the Mayo Clinic,” said Kennedy chief of staff Sean Richardson. “He’s feeling great and he’s looking forward to getting back to work.”
Kennedy, D-R.I., the son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was expected to appear at a Brown University forum Monday on the future of mental health care and addiction treatment.
He spent the weekend visiting family members in Washington before returning to Rhode Island Sunday night.
“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 consultation,” the institution said in a statement released by Kennedy’s office.
Crash near the Capitol
The six-term congressman had checked into the Mayo Clinic on May 5, one day after a middle-of-the-night car crash near the Capitol that he said he could not remember. He also had been treated at the clinic over the Christmas holidays.
The accident has raised questions about whether Kennedy, 38, was drinking and had received special treatment by police, who did not conduct field sobriety tests.
Capitol Police cited him for three traffic violations and said he appeared to be intoxicated. Police said Friday they were still investigating the incident.
Kennedy has been a passionate advocate for improved mental health care coverage, speaking publicly about his own battles with depression, alcoholism and substance abuse.
As a high school senior, Kennedy was treated at a drug rehabilitation clinic before he went to Providence College.
Kennedy has been outspoken about wanting to end the stigma of mental health problems, and he has been praised by mental health professionals for being open about his personal struggles.
Rhode Island Democrats endorsed an absent Kennedy for re-election a few days after the crash near the Capitol. But state Republicans have called for him to step down.
“He ought to resign because he can’t fulfill his duties as congressman,” said Chuck Newton, Rhode Island Republican Party spokesman. “We’re a small state and we only have two congressmen, so it really matters if someone can’t do the job.”
Jack McConnell, a longtime Kennedy friend and adviser, said he’s confident the congressman will overcome any public doubts.
“These first couple of days, he’s got a job to do to reassure people he’s committed to the job,” said McConnell. “I think people are going to be receptive to that. When you are up front about your problems, people tend to cut you slack.”