Radel expects random drug testing when he returns to Congress

Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) expects to be subjected to random drug tests when he returns to Capitol Hill next week, he said in an interview.

He will be in outpatient treatment when he returns to Congress and said he expects to be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol. He also said he will meet two to five times a week with a councilor and has joined a peer counseling group in the area.

The freshman lawmaker also told Gannett News Service he has not thought about running for reelection and his first step upon returning to Washington will be rebuilding trust.

“Undoubtedly, the first thing I have to do is restore a lot of trust and make amends, and only then can I return to what I love doing and what I was elected to do,” he said.

{mosads}Radel recently completed a stint in a Florida rehab facility after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. He was sentenced to a year of probation and has not been seen in Washington since he Nov. 20 appearance before a judge.

He blamed an alcohol addiction for his actions and called his time in rehab “life changing.”

“I do look forward to getting back to work with a much clearer head and positive thoughts moving forward,” he told the news outlet. “I am extremely sorry for the heartache and pain that I’ve caused personally and professionally, and I’m going to work to make that up. I intend on having a successful year.”

He previously said his alcohol abuse never interfered with his work as a congressman.

Radel has ignored the calls of a number of Florida Republicans who said he should resign.

He has not addressed whether he will run for reelection and said on Friday that it is not a thought in his mind. Several Republicans have expressed interest in seeking a primary against him, and a super-PAC has raised more than $1 million to back a potential challenger.

Radel represents a heavily-Republican district and, if he survived a primary challenge, should have a clear path to reelection.

“That is absolutely not even a thought in my mind at all, period,” he said of making another bid for Congress. “I will when I feel that I am ready. Right now, the most important things for me are God and family, and with that I’m excited to get back to work to rebuild trust and continue doing the work for the people.”

Shortly after Radel’s cocaine conviction, a number of Democrats — including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — called out the congressman for voting on a Republican bill that would require food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing.

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