NEW YORK, NY, March 1, 2007 – “There was a time in our history – not so long ago – when smoking was cool, when seat belts were for sissies, and when AIDS was seen as a death sentence for gay sex. Today our attitudes are profoundly different – with powerful and beneficial consequences. Smoking has been cut sharply, and so have the related deaths from lung cancer and heart disease. Auto safety measures have curbed the highway death and injury rates. AIDS is recognized as a serious illness rather than a social curse. Just as we fundamentally changed our attitudes towards these issues and took actions that greatly improved the quality of life for millions of our people, the time has come for a fundamental change in our attitude about the pervasive and pernicious role drug and alcohol abuse play in our society and a revolution in the way we deal with it.”
From the man who in 1978 mounted the nation’s first anti-smoking campaign and declared smoking “Public Health Enemy Number One” comes HIGH SOCIETY: How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What To Do About It. Joseph A. Califano, Jr., has spent the past 15 years of his life immersed in the field of substance abuse as founder and chairman of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
In HIGH SOCIETY, Califano shows how substance abuse has touched every family and circle of friends in America and causes and aggravates the nation’s most wrenching social problems – violent and property crimes, soaring health care costs, family breakup, domestic violence and child abuse, the spread of AIDS, teen pregnancy, poverty, and low productivity. He calls for a cultural change potent enough to prompt a revolution in the nation’s criminal justice, medical, educational and social service systems and foreign policy priorities, and to awaken the power of parenting to raise drug free children and teens.
He reveals that:
Americans, comprising only four percent of the world’s population, consume two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.
Nearly a quarter of the nation’s college students meet the clinical criteria for alcohol and drug abuse and addiction.
Every American child will be offered illegal drugs before graduating from high school, most on several occasions.
The outspoken former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, noting that a child who reaches age 21 without smoking, using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so, chronicles the personal agony and public cost of our failure to act on this truth. And he writes, “It doesn’t have to be that way” if all of us--politicians, parents and physicians, teachers and clergyman, cops, judges and lawyers, journalists and entertainers-- do our part to create the cultural revolution to sober up our High Society.
HIGH SOCIETY is a call to arms by a leading expert in the field of public health, a manifesto of specific actions we can take to change fundamentally the way we view and confront drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. This book is an inspiration for our nation to end the denial, stamp out the stigma associated with alcoholism and addiction, and commit the energy and resources to confront a plague that has maimed and killed more Americans than all our wars, natural catastrophes and traffic accidents combined.
HIGH SOCIETY can have the kind of defining impact on our understanding of substance abuse that such classics as Silent Spring, Unsafe at Any Speed, and most recently An Inconvenient Truth, have had with respect to the environment, auto safety and global warming.