Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rouson brings his anti-drug message to D.C.



A few weeks ago, Rep. Darryl Rouson did something crazy. He drove from St. Petersburg to Miami to give a speech to a drug treatment. An 8 minute speech.

But Rouson, a former crack addict, is passionate about his cause and decided to go anyway. He brought his crack pipes, a prop seen around the state Capitol (more about that later) The voyage spawned a trip to Washington this week and the possibility of federal drug treatment money for Florida.

While in Miami, Rouson met Gil Kerlikowske, the national drug czar and a former St. Petersburg narcotics detective. "To be honest," Rouson said, "his boys were looking for me at various times in the past. We joked about that."

Rouson Kerlikowske was impressed enough with Rouson and invited him to D.C., where on Tuesday they discussed ways to approach the drug problem. Rouson said they talked about what types of federal drug money Florida may not be tapping into.

"I think some things are going to happen," said Rouson, who filled Gov. Charlie Crist in on Wednesday.

Rouson said Kerlikowske was impressed with his blunt approach. The Democratic lawmaker is known to carry glass pipes to stir interest in a surtax on drug paraphernalia. Last session, he donned a white construction hat with a red bong attached. The bill died but Rouson has refiled it for the upcoming session.

"He said (his agency) doesn't take positions on state matters. But he thought it was a great idea to use the revenue for prevention," Rouson said. "I think we'll get the bill passed this time."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:25pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours