Ontario's health minister made a public confession, during his speech at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health Courage to Come Back, that he had spent precious five years in the throes of drug addiction. Being perhaps the first cabinet minister to admit that he is also gay, the minister spoke of his suffering and struggle with drugs, which he eventually gave up only due to courage and conviction.
"It made me realize it would really not be right to mount the podium and make the traditional greeting," Smitherman said "So I said what was in my heart. I left the room a better person. It was liberating. If it comes back to haunt me, so be it."
He shared with the public, that it was the inner drive to give up drugs that was a key motivator in ensuring his success. He had taken counseling with a drug specialist psychiatrist on about 15 to 20 occasions. He had to get away from the friends circle and abstain from alcohol, to kick the drug habit.