People don’t often associate public office with addiction, but it happens more often than the public realizes. With the widespread media attention that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has received, the voting public is becoming more aware that past and present government leaders are just as capable of misusing substances as anyone else.
The fact of the matter is, elected officials are simply people, and people of all demographics struggle with addiction. In fact, studies have shown that people in positions of power can be even more prone to addiction than other groups of people.
This is not necessarily a recent phenomenon. Political figures such as former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who was charged with cocaine and marijuana possession in the early 1990’s, have been making headlines for decades. It is suspected that similar stories could have been found through out history and are only falling under scrutiny now that we have a global media.
Often, a person will have addictive tendencies before they enter public office, and may have even struggled with addiction privately in the past. But serving as a government leader can be stressful and taxing, which are the circumstances that spawn addiction binges, and suddenly their problem is the business of their entire populous.
Regardless of whether or not a person who struggles with addiction should remain in public office, it is certain that they should have access to high quality addiction treatment in order to regain their lives.