Back from NYC: Browsing Califano

Just returned from the Big Apple where the kids and I were visiting family.  Hanging out in the “New Releases” section of Barnes and Noble, I came across Joe Califano’s new book, High Society: How Substance Abuse Is Ravaging America and What to Do About It.

Califano, the former HEW director and current chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, wrote a whopper.  I’ve watched this guy on TV interview and news shows talking about drug abuse, and hands down, he’s the best I’ve heard talk about this subject.

He calls for a “cultural revolution” along the lines of what “reshaped our understanding and conduct concerning the environment, auto safety and global warming.”

And he terms substance abuse and addiction as the nation’s #1 serial killer.

Califano is big on prevention, saying parents are the first line of defense.  “At bottom,” Califano says, “prevention is a mom and pop operation,” but adds that a whole lot more needs to be done in the education system, the justice system and in communities.

 And underage drinking?  How’s this for a stat he refers to: Half of college students binge drink and/or abuse drugs and almost a quarter meet medical critiria for alcohol or drug dependence.

We needed a book like this to wake up America.

Pete Schulberg, Oregon Partnership 


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