Tara Conner

Miss USA Tara Conner Admits to Cocaine Use

01/31/2007 at 09:55 AM EST

Miss USA Tara Conner Admits to Cocaine Use
Conner on Jan. 25
Virginia Sherwood/NBCU
Miss USA Tara Conner, who checked out of rehab on Jan. 21, says she used cocaine prior to her treatment.

"Cocaine was one of the drugs that I did use. It's hard to look back at that," she tells PEOPLE in its new issue. "I was an equal-opportunity [user] – I would try anything once."

The 21-year-old Russell Springs, Ky., native spent 31 days at the Caron Foundation rehab facility in Wernersville, Pa., as part of a "second chance" offered to her by Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe organization, following press reports of underage drinking, drug use and promiscuity.

When asked about the rumored romantic escapades, she hedges: "I would talk to more than one guy at once – it doesn't mean that I was sexually active with every one of these people."

It was alcohol, she says, that had the biggest hold on her. Citing a family history of alcoholism, Conner says that for many years she was "a functioning alcoholic. If I got caught [drinking], I would stop – I was able to do that."

(Conner also says in a Today interview airing Thursday, "I have done cocaine, yes." According to the New York Post's Page Six, Conner tells Matt Lauer she took antidepressants and other drugs that triggered an allergic reaction.)

Before rehab, she tells PEOPLE, "I thought I needed to be around people, that I needed that acceptance." Now, instead of going to clubs, she enjoys reading at home – a home she shares with a chaperone.

"I just can't wait to get back to work," she says. " 'I'm Miss USA, my name is Tara Conner, and I'm happy to meet you,' you know? Life's good."

For the complete story, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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