Message from the Chairman
CASA is working to help parents, schools and all those who influence children and teens understand that the key to a drug-free society is raising healthy, drug-free kids.
When I started CASA in 1992, First Lady Betty Ford, one of our founding board members, said, “Joe, if we can just peel the stigma off of substance abuse and addiction, we will change the world.” Over the past twenty years, I have learned how right she was.
We now know that substance abuse and addiction is a complex neurological, psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual disease. The work of scientists in our nation and around the world has confirmed this reality. We also know that it is our nation’s most pervasive personal and public health problem, one that touches just about every family and circle of friends in America.
CASA was founded on postulates now proven to be true: the problem is abuse and addiction, not any particular substance; abuse and addiction of all substances — nicotine, alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs — share common neurologicaland psychological characteristics; and substance abuse and addiction are implicated in the nation’s rocketing healthcare costs, crime, domestic violence and child abuse, teen pregnancy rates, homelessness, spread of AIDS and STDs, academic dropouts and failures, and family breakups. It is now obvious that one of the keys to dealing with federal, state and local budget deficits is to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction.
So why do our leaders and our people not see this and act on these realities? Why don’t we accord drug and alcohol abuse and addiction the same respect that we accord other chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes? Because we have so stigmatized this disease, so drenched it in shame, that individuals with parents, spouses, children and friends who abuse or are addicted to drugs and alcohol keep it under the covers. Most doctors don’t want to deal with it. Schools and colleges often treat it as a rite of passage. Well, it’s time for those of us who are committed to combating substance abuse and addiction to shout, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take stigmatizing this disease and those who have it anymore!” We must insist that our people and our medical and public health community act on the reality that addiction is a developmental disease, one that usually begins in the teen years.
CASA is working to help parents, schools and all those who influence children and teens understand that the key to a drug-free society is raising healthy, drug-free kids. Parents are the most influential source of information any child has, for better or worse. Parents who talk to their children about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using other drugs, set a good example and send a clear no-use message, are parents whose children will choose not to use.
CASA researchers work to create proven, effective approaches to keep American families and children healthy and drug free. These extraordinary professionals and their work serve as a source for health professionals, politicians, educators, the media, law enforcement and the judicial system, corporations and community organizations that need accurate, insightful, detailed and unbiased information on substance abuse and addiction.
We’ve achieved a great deal over these past two decades, educating Americans about how drug and alcohol addiction causes and exacerbates just about
every social problem the nation faces. We have developed effective prevention and treatment programs for the most vulnerable populations, like high-risk children and mothers on welfare. We have called attention to besotted college campuses. But we still haven’t peeled the stigma off this disease.
This year, CASA welcomed back William H. Foster, PhD, to become President and Chief Executive Officer. Bill previously served as CASA’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and is a talented, dedicated and resourceful leader and executive.
We have also added two new directors to our board — Gene Jankowski, former president of CBS Broadcasting, who brings a wealth of communications experience to our efforts, and Jeffrey Lane, former President of Neuberger Berman and Bear Stearns Asset Management, who brings an extraordinary depth of investment expertise to our board.
Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP provides CASA with pro bono legal counsel. We are especially grateful to Frederick W. Kanner, Harvey Kurzweil, Rachel Berk, Matthew DiRisio, Seth Farber, Stanton Lovenworth, William MacDonald, Janis Meyer, Monique Ribando, Brian Taylor and Katherine H. Walden.
We are fortunate to have had Jamie Lee Curtis once again lend her time and voice to our Family Day — A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ public service announcements, and to have the CBS Corporation donate PSA air time, to increase awareness of this important family initiative.
Special thanks to Ivan Chermayeff and the firm of Chermayeff and Geismar for the redesign of the CASA logo; David Patrick Columbia and Eric Weiss, who donate photographs for use in this annual report; the law firm of Reed Smith; Board member Michael Roth and The Interpublic Group of Companies for their creative expertise in helping CASA get its message out to millions of Americans; McCann Erickson’s Jonathan Goldmacher, Brandon Larson and Brian Racis, who are providing guidance and counsel as we develop new and dynamic marketing and communications solutions; and Janine DelGiorno, Ashley Hughes, John Palisay, Aurelio Saiz, Dana Ganci, Joyce Azor, Carl Weber and Alex Chu at Draftfcb, who produce this annual report. We appreciate the continued assistance of KPMG Peat Marwick, our independent auditors led by Lisa Hinkson.
All these individuals and institutions are invaluable allies as we seek to find the most effective ways to combat substance abuse and addiction in America. But we need your help. I ask you to help us by making a contribution to CASA. All proceeds go to conquering the stigma attached to this disease and helping families raise healthy, drug-free kids.