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Friday, February 17, 2012

Mary Bono Mack: On the Front Line.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack is speaking up after Whitney Houston's death because she believes the time is right to end prescription drug abuse. During an appearance Tuesday on CNN's “Starting Point,” Bono Mack, who serves as co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, said she has a “number of items in the legislative form and some that are more conceptual, some are putting pressure on the DEA and FDA.”

“I have a prescriber education bill. I also have a bill that would limit access to OxyContin, which is one of the most powerful narcotics on the market,” she said

 “Like so many others, I was deeply saddened to learn of Whitney Houston’s death.  As a singer and entertainer, she was such a unique talent and had an unforgettable, once-in-a-generation voice,” said Bono Mack.

The Congresswoman said that Houston
 will be remembered for her
 “rich, soulful, unmistakable voice.”

She added, "But perhaps her death 
can also be remembered as 
the turning point in the struggle 
against prescription drug abuse in America.”

“... (W)e need to finally get serious about tackling this deadly issue head-on, addressing everything from the over-prescribing of medications to cracking down on ... pill mills to improving education — especially in our schools, where nearly one in four 12th-graders have abused prescription medications," stated Bono Mack.

Mary is the daughter of the late Clay Whitaker – a physician and World War II veteran who served with a decorated B-17 bomber group over Europe – and the late Karen Whitaker, a chemist.  She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in South Pasadena, California.  As a youth, Mary pursued her first love, gymnastics. With her family's support, Mary became an accomplished gymnast, and her dedication to physical fitness continues to this day. 

Now in her eighth term, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack was first elected in 1998 to serve the people of California’s 45th District through a special election held to fill the seat left vacant by her late husband, the Honorable Sonny Bono, who died in a tragic skiing accident.  

In her first year in office, Bono Mack was named one of the Most Fascinating Women of the Year by Ladies' Home Journal magazine in conjunction with CBS Television.  She was also selected by GEORGE Magazine as one of the 20 most fascinating women in politics.  Most recently, Bono Mack was named by Golf Digest as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women” golfers. 
It's not the norm for a Republican to be favored by entertainment interests. “Most of the money from the industry goes to Democrats,” said Jack Pitney, congressional expert at Claremont McKenna College.

That's especially true of money from performers, Pitney said, while adding that some members of the business side of the industry are more conservative. “But given that she is from Southern California and her family history, it's not surprising she would get support from the entertainment industry,” he said.

I hope Mary Bono Mack can generate support from the music industry and coordinate a group of artists  willing to dedicate their efforts to help stop rx drug abuse. I believe next year's Grammy Awards should include a segment exposing the extent of the rx drug epidemic both in the industry and in the country while calling for an end to the "drugs, sex, and rock'n'roll" persona of performers.

Bono Mack's considerable influence and solid background could be great tools in the movement to save thousands of lives through drug abuse prevention. Her efforts could be the stimulus for a much-needed change from an acceptance of reckless behavior to a commitment to responsible, non-destructive actions. Bono Mack has proven her ability to positively affect this important issue.

With great respect to the artistic freedom of musicians, I believe more must be done to squash the fantasy that  money, drugs, and manipulative power are objects of desire. Until America realizes the horrible realities of addiction and rejects the "Hollywood" image of dependency as necessary baggage that has become "a part of the fame game," drug abuse will continue to worsen and consume untold future Whitney Houstons, Michael Jacksons, Elvis Presleys, and Janis Joplins.

The Rx Drug Epidemic is real. It is now. And, it's only concern is devouring as many people as it can. The powers behind the monstrous scourge must be revealed and brought to justice. At the same time, the American public must update their antiquated views of abuse and accept the challenge of defeating this disease. Celebrities and congressional representatives can be key players in the movement. I applaud and thank Mary Bono Mack for talking a stand and exclaiming, "Enough is enough!" Southern Ohio is onboard. Let's not let a golden opportunity for advancement slip away.

Here is the link to Congresswoman Bono Mack's homepage:
Here is the link to contact Bono Mack:
Here is the link to Bono Mack's Facebook page:

 "Dope never helped anybody sing better 
or play music better or do anything better. 
All dope can do for you is kill you -- 
and kill you the long, slow, hard way. "

 - Billie Holiday

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