From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Bristling with impressive statistics, Califano marshals the evidence persuasively... his sobering and thought provoking book is a call to arms." -- New York Law Journal
"Califano deserves to be read by drug reformers because he is going to be widely read by well-meaning people with an interest in substance abuse." -- Stopthedrugwar.com, July 13, 2007
"Passionate" -- New York Review of Books, July 19, 2007
a "great source of information." -- The O'Reilly Factor, May 8, 2007