In recognition of her efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and addiction, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) was honored today with the Mae Abraham Award during the 5th annual "Women in Recovery" luncheon held at Father Martin's Ashley (FMA) Treatment Center in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Bono Mack was applauded for her "tireless efforts" to raise awareness of the problem, especially when it comes to the deadly dangers of narcotic pain killers.
Working closely together, Father Joseph Martin and Mae Abraham -- both recovering alcoholics -- founded Ashley in 1982 as a chemical addiction treatment center. Since then, it has become a nationally recognized facility for its unique approach to treating all forms of chemical addiction. FMA was also one of the first alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers to offer specialized relapse treatment for patients who had had a period of sustained sobriety and then relapsed. Today, the facility offers a wide range of programs at its 147-acre private campus located on the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2009, Father Martin died at the age of 84 -- shortly after celebrating his 50th year of sobriety. The Washington Post hailed him as an "international leader" in the fight against alcoholism and substance abuse. The treatment center is named after his father, the Rev. Arthur Ashley.
"Receiving this award is a tremendous honor," Bono Mack said. "Mae Abraham and Father Martin were early pioneers in the difficult, uphill fight against addiction. Their courage, determination and perseverance serve as an inspiration not only to me, but to so many others as well. That's why this award means so much to me. Today, thousands of Americans are dying needlessly from prescription drug abuse. This is a national tragedy, and it will require a sustained, national effort to reverse the tide. "
Congresswoman Bono Mack, who serves as Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, has been widely applauded for her efforts to fight prescription drug abuse, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls a public health epidemic. This year, nearly 30,000 Americans are expected to die from prescription drug abuse and overdoses, costing our society $70 billion annually.
"As Americans, we rally around efforts to fight breast cancer, childhood diseases and other serious health threats. But for far too long, there have only been hushed whispers about prescription drug abuse -- now the fastest growing drug problem in America," Bono Mack continued. "Today, as the death toll from prescription drug overdoses continues to rise sharply, it's time to move this story from the obituary page to the front page where it belongs. This starts with an awareness and understanding of the problem. Clearly, Father Martin and Mae Abraham were ahead of their time in recognizing this. I am honored to follow in their footsteps."