Ashley Addiction Treatment Celebrates 40 Years Of Service To The Community

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From left to right: Alex Denstman, MBA, Co-CEO and…belmann, M.D., Co-CEO and President of Ashley (Credit: Ashley Addiction Treatment)

HAVRE DE GRACE - Ashley Addiction Treatment (Ashley), a local provider of inpatient and outpatient addiction recovery services, is celebrating four decades of bringing compassionate, evidence-based care to those suffering from substance abuse disorders.

The January 17 ceremony to celebrate the milestone was attended by Ashley alums and prominent local leaders, including Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly.

Cassily congratulated Ashley for their ongoing service and said he looks forward to seeing what their expanded research capabilities can accomplish.

“Today, we celebrate four decades of Ashley and their passion for transforming and saving lives—both here in our community and nationwide,” Cassilly said. “At a time when so many people are struggling to build better lives, I’m honored to have them as such a crucial part of our community and find their generosity and commitment to service inspirational. I look forward to the expansion of their research capabilities, which will enable even more effective treatment approaches and continue to save lives for many more decades to come.”

Ashley’s history dates back to 1964 when Father Joseph C. Martin and Lora “Mae” Abraham first met during one of Father Martin’s internationally-recognized “Chalk Talks” about addiction and wellness.

Father Martin suffered from alcoholism before seeking treatment. He later traveled the world to spread the message that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing, which was not widely recognized or heard of at the time. Lora “Mae” Abraham heard Father Martin speak and vowed never to let herself or anyone else feel ashamed of a substance abuse disorder.

The visionary duo’s dream came to life when the doors of Father Martin’s Ashley opened in 1983. It’s credited as the first treatment center in the world to develop a specialized curriculum for relapse patients.

Alex Denstman, Co-CEO and president of Ashley, says Father Martin’s ideas continue to guide the treatment center.

“Father Martin did something extremely powerful for Mae; he removed the stigma and shame from alcoholism, which ultimately ignited the vision for Ashley, a legacy that would last well beyond both of their lives,” Denstman said.

In December 2022, Senator Van Hollen and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger secured $420,000 for Ashley to educate Harford County High School students about substance use disorders.

Van Hollen is a longtime supporter of Ashley’s work and said he was honored to direct funds toward their student addiction prevention programs.

“Forty years ago, Mae and Father Martin founded Ashley to improve how addiction is treated, and over the last decades, they have empowered individuals struggling with substance use disorder and given them and their families hope. I’m honored to recognize the tens of thousands of lives they’ve helped save and rebuild while also delivering a direct federal investment to bolster their student addiction prevention programs. With these funds, Ashley can help more young Marylanders steer clear of addiction and towards a bright and healthy future,” Van Hollen said.

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