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High Society: How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What to Do about Itby Joseph A Califano
Synopses & Reviews
In High Society, Joseph Califano points out that a child who reaches twenty-one without smoking, using illegal drugs, or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so—and chronicles the fearful cost in personal pain and public dollars of our nation's failure to act on this truth.
Califano shows how substance abuse is the culprit in violent and property crime, soaring Medicare and Medicaid costs, family breakup, domestic violence, the spread of AIDS, teen pregnancy, poverty, and low productivity. He takes on alcohol and tobacco interests that buy political protection with campaign contributions and seed a culture of substance abuse among our nation's children and teens. He explains the importance of parent power, proposes revolutionary changes in prevention, treatment, and criminal justice, and calls upon every individual and institution to confront this plague that has maimed and killed more Americans than all our wars, natural catastrophes, and traffic accidents combined.
"It's hard to argue with Califano's thesis, that substance abuse is a huge, expensive and often tragic problem in the U.S., particularly when it affects children; best known for declaring cigarettes 'public health enemy number one' as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Califano is clearly passionate, well-meaning and unafraid to think big: 'We must end our denial, stamp out the stigma, rethink our concept of crime and punishment...to confront this plague.' His sincerity and conviction is a two-edged sword, however: he comes off big-hearted one minute ('I am calling for...acceptance of such abuse and addiction as a chronic disease'), humorless and out of touch the next ('Movies like 40 Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers play excessive alcohol use for laughs'). And though he does take a chapter to address the 'sharp edges' of marijuana use and warn against its (non-medical) legalization, he otherwise lumps all addictive substances into a single category; specificity goes instead into the details, costs and attendant statistics of (mostly failed) anti-abuse programs and legislation. Proposed solutions tend toward the general: more and better education, standardized professional training for therapists, eliminating tobacco and alcohol money from politics and 'curbing availability and attractiveness.' As a wonky primer to one culture warrior's approach to America's drug problem, this volume is informative, if familiar." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The outspoken former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare behind the nation's anti-smoking campaing now take on substance abuse in all its forms
Subtitled, "How Substance Abuse Is Destroying America & We Can Change It".
About the Author
Joseph A. Califano, Jr. served as LBJ's domestic affairs chief and Jimmy Carter's secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, where he started the nation's first national anti-smoking campaign in 1978, calling cigarette smoking "Public Health Enemy Number One." In 1992 he founded The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, now recognized as the nation's top think/action tank on substance abuse involving tobacco, alcohol and illegal, prescription and performance enhancing drugs.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties