George W. Bush substance abuse controversy

George W. Bush substance abuse controversy

Allegations of substance abuse have arisen during the political career of 43rd and current United States President George W. Bush, leading to controversy. Bush admits to abusing alcohol until age forty.


Bush has described his days before his religious conversion in his 40s as his "nomadic" period and "irresponsible youth" and admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. In "" by James Hatfield, Bush is quoted as saying that "alcohol began to compete with my energies ... I'd lose focus". Although Bush states that he was not an alcoholic, he has acknowledged that he was "drinking too much",Kristof, Nicholas, " [ How Bush Came to Tame His Inner Scamp] ", "The New York Times", July 29, 2000.] and that he couldn't remember a day when he hadn't had a drink, including his stay at Phillips Academy, where not only was he underage but alcohol was prohibited on campus, as well as at Yale University where, conversely, "hard drinking" was considered a badge of honor (Hatfield).

Bush's drinking may not have caused problems were it not for his tendency to become excessively uninhibited, according to reports of friends. In the article referenced above, Nicholas D. Kristof quotes Bush's cousin Elsie Walker as saying, "He was a riot. But afterward, when you're older, that can wear thin", and gives the example of Bush asking a "proper" female friend of his parents at a family cocktail party, "So, what's sex like after 50, anyway?"
*In December 1966 (age 20), he was arrested for disorderly conduct after he and some friends had "a few beers" and stole a Christmas wreath from a hotel. [ [ George W. Bush's Journey: Ally of an Older Generation Amid the Tumult of the 60's ] ] The charges were later dropped.
*On September 4, 1976 (age 30), Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined US$150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years, although the White House had claimed 30 days. [ [ The Smoking Gun: Archive ] ] This incident did not become public knowledge until it was reported in the press in the week before the 2000 election.

The most notorious episode, reported in numerous diverse sources including "U.S. News & World Report" on November 1, 1999, "Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq" by Robert Parry, "First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty" by Bill Minutaglio, and "W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty" by Elizabeth Mitchell, has 26-year-old George W. Bush visiting his parents in Washington, D.C. over the Christmas vacation in 1972, shortly after the death of his grandfather, and taking his 16-year-old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home George lost control of the car and ran over a waste container, but continued home with the garbage can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, appears to have retorted angrily, "I hear you're looking for me. You wanna go mano-a-mano right here?" Before the elder Bush could reply, the situation was defused by brother Jeb, who took the opportunity to surprise his father with the happy news that George W. had been accepted to Harvard Business School. [ [ Salon Books | The mediocrity that roared ] ] During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush said that he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but persistant pressure from his wife, Laura. [ [ Bush - The Making of a Candidate ] ] [ [ Bush's Life-Changing Year ] ] [ [ - Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge - November 2, 2000 ] ] Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim.

An [ editorial letter] by Graydon Carter in "Vanity Fair" for January 2008 quotes a new book about Bush:

"a new book by former British foreign secretary Lord Owen may supply a clue. In " [ The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair, and the Intoxication of Power] " (ISBN 1842752197), Owen recalls the time in 2002 when the commander in chief collapsed while sitting on a sofa watching a football game. (Official cause: he’d choked on a pretzel.) The presidential head hit a table on the way to the floor, he suffered an abrasion on the left side of his face, and a blood sample was rushed to [Johns Hopkins Hospital|Johns Hopkins [Hospital] ] , in Baltimore. Owen says he was told by a British doctor who had visited Johns Hopkins that lab technicians there found that the blood contained significant amounts of alcohol." [ "Vanity Fair" web site]

Since then, a photograph [ [ BBC NEWS | Europe | Bush's Europe tour diary: Day Four ] ] was taken on June 7, 2007, of Bush drinking what appears to be a beer at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. However, a German newspaper, citing White House sources, has said it was Buckler, a non-alcoholic beer. [ [ Alkoholfreies Bier für Bush ] ]

During an official visit in Rome on June 12, 2008, Bush had an official lunch with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano during which both white and red wine was served. [cite web
url =
title = Bush. Concluso il colloquio col presidente Napolitano
accessdate = 2008-06-12
language= Italian

Illegal drugs

Bush has refused to discuss speculation that he has used illegal drugs, but has said that when his father became president in 1989 and required White House employees to affirm that they had not used illegal drugs for 15 years, he would have passed that test. [ [ Bush denies using any illegal drug during the past 25 years - August 19, 1999 ] ] cite news |url= |title=US: Fresh Drug Claims Hit Bush's Hopes For White House |work=The Daily Telegraph |date=20 October 1999 |first=Toby |last=Harnden]

A conversation between Bush and an old friend and author, Doug Wead, touched on the subject of use of illegal drugs. In the taped recordings of the conversation, Bush explained his refusal to answer questions about whether he had used marijuana at some time in his past. “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions,” Bush says. “You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.” When Wead reminded Bush that the latter had publicly denied using cocaine, Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything." [ [ Bush feared past ‘mistakes’ would cost him - Politics - ] ]

In 1999, St. Martin's Press published a book ["Fortunate Son" (ISBN 1-887128-84-0)] claiming that Bush had been arrested for cocaine possession and that he had the record expunged. The publisher claimed at the time that the book had been "carefully fact-checked and scrutinized by lawyers", [ [ Salon News | Publisher halts George W. Bush bio ] ] but soon afterwards recalled it and pulped all copies after it came to light that author James Hatfield had been convicted in 1988 of attempted murder and in 1992 of embezzlement, had spent five years in prison, and had falsely claimed that his vanity novel about James Bond was authorised by the copyright holder.Fact|date=July 2008

In February 2004, Eric Boehlert in "Salon" magazine claimed that Bush's cessation of flying in April 1972 and his subsequent refusal to take a physical examination came at the same time the Air Force announced a Medical Service Drug Abuse Testing Program, which, he wrote, was officially launched on April 21, 1972. He further claimed that while the drug testing took years to implement, "as of April 1972, Air National guardsmen knew random drug testing was going to be implemented." [ [ Did Bush drop out of the National Guard to avoid drug testing? - ] ] Other sources indicate that the U.S. military did not introduce drug testing until the 1980s. [cite web |url= |title=Employee Drug Testing is Effective |publisher=National Bureau of Economic Research;
cite news |first=James W. |last=Crawley |url= |work=Union-Tribune |date=July 29, 2002 |title=Military Sees Drug Use Rise Despite Tests;
cite news |url= |title=Fit For Duty...Or Is It? |author=Gene Tinelli, Lee Hamlett, and Mike Smithson |work=National Air Traffic Controllers Association Voice |date=February 1999;
cite news |url= |title=Bush and I Were Lieutenants |author= Col. William Campenni |work=The Washington Times |date= August 25, 2004


External links

* [ John Newcombe explaining his friendship with George W. Bush and the night of the DUI charge]

* [ Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge] - CNN story, November 2000.
* [ Doofy Dubya: Only in America] - Bush wedding video from 1992, as hosted by The Smoking Gun.
* [ Bush drinks fermented mares milk] - Story on Bush drinking fermented mare's milk in Mongolia, November 2005.
*Dr. Zebra's [ President George W. Bush: Health and Medical History] page.

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