Rep. Mary Bono Mack Calls for Increased Attention to Prescription Drug Abuse

Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) told members of a congressional panel that the nation’s domestic drug policy should include increased attention to the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

"Just because it’s sitting in the medicine cabinet doesn’t mean its safe," Bono Mack said in testimony before the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, which had just approved legislation that would create a commission to assess the effectiveness of U.S. counter-narcotics efforts.

While the legislation is meant largely to re-evaluate efforts to combat drug trafficking into the U.S., members of the subcommittee embraced Bono Mack’s remarks.

"For far too long, our country has been overly focused on the supply side of the drug trade, while paying far too little attention to what happens here at home," said subcommittee chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY).

Bono Mack’s testimony comes as part of her attempt to emerge as a leading voice in Congress against drug use and addition, particularly among teens.

Her son, Chesare, is a recovering addict who started taking the painkiller OxyContin after the death of his father, former entertainer and Representative Sonny Bono. In Chesare’s case, his OxyContin use led to heroin.

"The kids start on prescription drugs and transition to heroin from Latin America," Bono Mack said.

The legislation must pass a vote before the full House and the Senate before President Barack Obama could sign it into law.

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