Thesp asks judge for help

MALIBU, Calif. – Actor Robert Downey Jr. was handcuffed and sent back to jail for a psychiatric examination and drug treatment Tuesday after admitting to a judge he had not been able to kick his drug habit.

The 34-year-old actor, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Chaplin,” was ordered by Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mira to undergo a psychiatric examination and to be placed in a lock-down drug treatment program at least until another court appearance Aug. 5.

Mira ordered Downey back to drug treatment after the actor admitted in court that he had not submitted to court-ordered periodic drug tests since last December.

“Do you admit the violation?” Mira asked. “Yes, your honor, I do,” Downey said.

The actor added, “I’m coming here with my drug counselor to tell you that I still find (staying clean) difficult.”

Peter Knecht, an attorney for Downey, told reporters outside court that the actor “admitted he has a continuing addiction problem.”

“We asked the judge to place him in the Impact (drug treatment) program through the county jail system,” Knecht said. “He feels that will be the best thing for him, and it is a very brave, courageous move to do that. He is a wonderful man. He’s a very talented man, and he’ll be back on his feet real quick.”

Downey spent 113 days in jail in 1997 for violating his probation on a 1996 drug conviction in which he admitted using an illegal drug.

He had been arrested three times in 1996, including once for driving while intoxicated and carrying heroin, cocaine and an unloaded gun in his pickup truck.

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