Toronto mayor seeks substance abuse help

TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will take a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Dennis Morris said he spoke to Ford earlier Wednesday and said Ford has accepted that he has a problem.

“He acknowledges he has a substance abuse problem and he wants to do something about it,” Morris told The Associated Press.

The announcement comes as The Globe and Mail newspaper reported Wednesday that it had viewed a new video of Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine by a self-professed drug dealer. The video was secretly filmed in Ford’s sister’s basement early Saturday morning, the newspaper reported.

Ford, who launched his campaign for re-election earlier this year, acknowledged last year after months of denials that he smoked crack in a “drunken stupor” after police said they obtained a video that appears to show him smoking crack. The video has never been released to the public.

News reports of the crack video’s existence first surfaced last May, igniting a media firestorm around Ford. He careened from one scandal to another, becoming a national embarrassment for many Canadians.

A Toronto Sun columnist told CP24 television that the paper obtained an audio recording of Ford making offensive remarks about other politicians at a bar and

Ford has refused to resign, despite mounting pressure after a string of incidents, from public drunkenness to appearing in another video that showed him threatening “murder” in an incoherent rant. Toronto’s city council has stripped him of most of his powers.

Ford said last year that he quit drinking alcohol after having a “come to Jesus moment” but later acknowledged that he drank again. Recordings of the mayor intoxicated have surfaced since.

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