Note: This blog's templates will be updated this afternoon to a responsive design bringing it in line with

At that time, we will also change to the Facebook commenting system. You will need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment.

« U.S. Rep. Trey Radel's GOP primary nightmare: FL Sen. Republican leader Lizbeth Benacquisto | Main | Rick Scott down to Charlie Crist by 7 in Q poll, but gap narrowing as Crist favorables fall »

Rep. Trey Radel: I'm sorry for cocaine use, heading to rehab for leave of absence


U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, the Fort Myers Republican who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine on Wednesday, said he would take a leave of absence to get treatment.

"Sometimes in life you need a wake up call," he said at a 10:30 p.m. news conference in Cape Coral. "I have had my wake-up call."

Radel, who has been in office only 10 months, apologized for letting down voters and his family but said he thinks he can overcome his problem vowed to return and become a role model for others.

"I do believe in faith, forgiveness and redemption and I hope to come out of this a stronger man, a better man for all of you."

He began the day in a District of Columbia courtroom, admitting he bought 3.5 grams of cocaine - an 8-ball in the lexicon of the street – from an undercover police officer and receiving a year of probation.

Had the former TV reporter been arrested in Florida he would have faced a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

"I apologize for what I've done. I think in life I've hit a bottom where I need help," Radel, 37, said in court.