Trenton, N.J — Betty Ford, former First Lady and advocate for people recovering from addictions has died at the age of 93. The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) praises the contributions that Betty Ford has made to the field of addictions. In an era when the illness of addiction was unspeakable due to its intense stigmatization Betty Ford, in a watershed moment that would change the national dialogue on this topic, went public with her own story of addiction to alcohol and pain killers. “Her public sharing of her own struggles humanized people with addictions, showing even First Ladies were not exempt from the ravages of this illness,” said Debra Wentz, PhD and CEO of NJAMHAA.
Later in recovery, Betty Ford would found the legendary Betty Ford Clinic in California. Her desire to help other people suffering was manifest in the work of her clinic which would directly help tens of thousands of Americans to overcome the illness of addiction.
While the mental health and addiction service communities have lost an iconic advocate in the passing of Betty Ford, her work will be continued at her clinic but moreover, the story of Betty Ford's courage and triumph over her own struggle with addiction will continue to be a beacon of hope for the millions of Americans still suffering today from addiction.
NJAMHAA and its member organizations extends its deepest condolences to the family of Betty Ford. Her spirit will be continually honored at NJAMHAA and its member agencies as they serve 500,000 New Jersey residents every year, a significant portion of them for addictions. Many New Jersey residents, when able to access treatment for addiction, recover and go on to live healthy and productive lives in the Garden State.