Crack Cocaine, Alcohol, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

May 05, 2014, 09:00 ET from Stuart Kloda, MD

NEW YORK, May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a commentary from Stuart Kloda, MD, an Addiction Medicine physician in New York City.

This past Wednesday, Toronto mayor Rob Ford has decided to seek professional help for his substance abuse. The media has shown Mr. Ford intoxicated on alcohol, as well as smoking crack cocaine. His addiction appears to be severe. His resulting functional impairment and inability to stop using have publicly derailed his career.

How are alcohol and stimulants such as cocaine related? Both of these drugs go hand in hand. Some people only use cocaine when they drink alcohol. Cocaine counteracts the sedative effects of alcohol, and this allows people to drink more. Intoxication on alcohol lowers inhibitions, and it results in poor decision making. These effects can then lead to use of other drugs.

How does someone decide to seek inpatient versus outpatient treatment? Mr. Ford has decided to start inpatient treatment. The decision to engage in outpatient versus inpatient treatment depends on the individual. It depends on their level of addiction, and the level of impairment in their life as a result of their addiction. Outpatient therapy allows people to continue living at home and engage in their daily activities. Inpatient therapy allows people to get away from their drug using environment. They are then able to engage in intensive daily treatment in a safe environment. When someone completes inpatient treatment, the discharge plan always includes outpatient treatment.

It can be difficult for people to know when to get treatment, and decide to get help for their addictions. Making the decision to start treatment is an accomplishment in itself. Mr. Ford and others like him should be commended for their decisions.

Stuart Kloda, MD maintains a solo private Addiction Medicine practice in New York City for working professionals. He specializes only in the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions. For information on addictions and treatment, call Dr. Kloda directly for a phone consultation at (646) 713-6578, or visit

SOURCE Stuart Kloda, MD