Former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., has announced the formation of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
Backed by an $8 million commitment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which represents the largest grant of its kind awarded in the 20 year history of the Foundation, CASA will assemble experts in a variety of disciplines to determine and combat the impact of substance abuse in society.
Califano, who will assume the duties of president, mounted the nation's first anti-smoking campaign in 1978. He noted that "substance abuse and addiction costs more than $300 billion a year in health care and disability payments, lost productivity, accidents, crime and prisons. CASA's goal is to get the American people to roll up their sleeves and devote the energy and resources necessary to attack the problem. Dealing with substance abuse and addiction is essential if we are to control health care costs, decrease crime, provide safe low- and moderate-income housing, increase our international competitiveness, and bolster our faltering educational system."