Mayoral candidates square off during the City TV mayoral debate that took place in Toronto on March 26 with Karen Stintz, John Tory, Olivia Chow, David Soknacki and Mayor Rob Ford.
TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to using "every drug you can probably think of" in one-on-one interviews Wednesday.
Ford, who recently returned to work at Toronto City Hall after a two-month stint in rehab, said he has used cocaine, marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms — but denied using heroin. "You name it, I've abused it," he told CP24.
The embattled mayor added that he was "definitely under the influence of alcohol" at work, but never did drugs there. Ford also blamed his substance-abuse problems for racist and homophobic remarks he repeatedly made in the past. Ford's revelations come from interviews with the CBC, a Canadian news network, and CP24, a Toronto-based broadcaster, on Wednesday.
Soft-spoken and with his eyes frequently downcast, Ford talked extensively about battling his "chronic" addiction, and receiving "intensive" and "ongoing" rehab.
"I had a disease for a number of years, and I was ruining my life. My health was in jeopardy. My job as mayor was very hard to do," he told the CBC.
"It's the beginning of a long, long journey and I'm gonna battle this disease until the day I die.""It's the beginning of a long, long journey and I'm gonna battle this disease until the day I die."
Ford resumed his duties as Toronto's titular mayor on Monday, and made a public apology at a press conference in his office. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly has been serving as the city's de factor mayor since Toronto city council voted to strip Ford of his non-statutory powers in November 2013.
In late April, Ford confirmed he was taking a temporary leave from his job and the mayoral election campaign, after the emergence of new videos that seemed to show him smoking crack cocaine. (The mayor confirmed on Monday that he was smoking crack in a screen capture of one of the videos.) Rumors of a video that showed Ford smoking crack emerged in May 2013, and he later admitted in November 2013 that he used crack cocaine while in office.
The mayor began undergoing treatment at GreeneStone Clinic, a Muskoka, Ontario rehab facility, in May.
"I was in denial. I convinced myself I didn't have a problem,""I was in denial. I convinced myself I didn't have a problem,"he said Wednesday. "I hurt a lot of people. Lying, conniving, hiding to cover up for this problem."
Ford became defiant when asked why he is seeking re-election in Toronto's mayoral race on Oct. 27, since on-the-job stress could trigger a relapse. Ford said his job "is not causing the disease," and that he abused substances for years before becoming mayor.
"I'll never change the way I run the city. Ever. My public record is phenomenal," he said pointedly, transitioning into campaign mode. "I love this job, and I'm very proud of my public record doing this job."
Ford said he has removed the bad influences in his life, but refused to comment on the police investigation into him, or where he got his drugs.
The mayor also refused to say whether he would resign if he relapsed. "I did not drink yesterday. And I haven’t drank today. And I take one day at a time."
Watch the CBC's full interview, below:
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
Tags: ROB FORD, TORONTO, US & World, WORLD