September 23, 2002 01:00 PM

Nick Nolte, who was reportedly “drooling” and “droopy-eyed” when arrested Sept. 11 on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, has checked into a substance abuse and psychiatric center in Connecticut, his publicist confirms.

According to a statement from Nolte spokesman Paul Bloch and obtained by “Entertainment Tonight,” the “Prince of Tides” star, 61, voluntarily entered Silver Hill Hospital on Sept. 14 and will remain in treatment for “as long as he feels is necessary.”

Silver Hill, a clinic specializing in drug and alcohol rehab, is where Billy Joel recently spent time after his painful breakup with “Inside Edition” anchor Trish Bergen.

As reported Sept. 12, Police allegedly spotted Nolte’s black 1992 Mercedes-Benz swerving across a Malibu highway. “An officer making a traffic stop on Pacific Coast Highway heard tires squealing and saw the vehicle driven by Nolte approaching rapidly, weaving across all lanes and into opposing traffic,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Leland Tang told Reuters at the time.

“The officer made stopped the vehicle and found that Mr. Nolte at that point seemed completely out of it,” Tang said. “He was drooling, (with) droopy eyes. He … looked very much like he was under the influence.”

The next day, Tang also said Nolte could face drug-related charges.

According to the Associated Press, Nolte failed a field sobriety test at the time of his arrest, and results of a blood test have not yet been reported. A court date is on the books for Oct. 28.

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