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SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Police should have given Rep. Kennedy sobriety test

The way to have defused the latest Kennedy family incident would have been for Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island to take a field sobriety test last week when he crashed his automobile in Washington, D.C.

But then, creating uncertainty over whether the son of Sen. Ted Kennedy was driving drunk during the wee hours of Thursday morning might be better than the test results. The public has no sympathy for politicians who get drunk then drive.

Rep. Kennedy says he was drunk on prescribed Phenergan and the sleeping pill Ambien when he crashed into a security barrier near his Capitol Hill office.

He gets the benefit of the doubt because both medications come with warnings about causing drowsiness. Ambien also comes with the warning it may cause confusion, strange behavior and hallucinations.

Capitol police said he appeared drunk and that, on orders from superior officers, they took the congressman home.

By Friday afternoon, Mr. Kennedy's announcement that he will enter Mayo` Clinic for treatment added weight to the prescription drug reaction.

Intoxicated? Maybe.

Adversely reacting to medication? Likely.

Special treatment? Absolutely. There was an unsuccessful attempt to cover up the incident.

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