SOUTH PORTLAND - MaineToday Media Staff Writer John Richardson and staff photographer Gregory Rec were recognized Thursday night by a drug-abuse prevention group for a series of stories that brought public attention to prescription drug abuse and addiction in Maine.
The newspaper’s series on painkiller addiction ran last October in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel.
Richardson and Rec were presented with the Community Vision Award during Day One’s 39th annual celebration and dinner at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland.
The series produced a strong reaction from recovering addicts as well as their parents, relatives and friends, who said they were grateful to see attention focused on a problem they’ve had to live through.
Brothers Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward of Lowell, Mass., provided the keynote address at the event. Actors Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg portrayed the brothers in the 2010 movie “The Fighter.” Bob Russo, president and head coach of the Portland Boxing Club, received Day One’s Community Leadership Award for his work with young fighters.
Also recognized Thursday night by Day One were the 17 members of The Maine Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, which was formed in February to develop solutions to the problem of prescription drug abuse.
Rebecca Howes, a spokeswoman for Day One, said the Community Vision award was given to Richardson and Rec because of the extensive support the series provided in the statewide effort to reduce substance abuse.
Day One provides training and education, screening, referrals and treatment for young people dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.