Pubdate: Sun, 23 Dec 2001
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Newsday Inc.
Author: Jeff Anderson


Regarding the article "NBC Ad Shift Is 200-Proof Stupidity" [Dec. 19]: 
Joseph Califano says, "It's well established that during hard economic 
times individuals are more prone to drink heavily and recovering alcoholics 
are at greater risk of relapse." He assumes, as most do, that drinking 
heavily causes alcoholism, stress causes relapse and that advertising 
exacerbates these problems.

His assumptions ignore the fact that many recovering alcoholics came 
through World War II sober, that fewer than 10 percent of those who drink 
alcohol become addicted to alcohol, and that hundreds of thousands receive 
powerful narcotics in our nation's hospitals and doctors' offices every 
year, but few walk out chronically addicted. They also ignore the fact that 
cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs are in high demand in our 
society, in spite of no advertising.

On the contrary, all our various forms of media, including entertainment, 
make huge efforts to portray illicit drugs as one of the ultimate 
expressions of evil in our society. Still, they remain in demand and 
support huge, multibillion-dollar legal and illegal industries. These facts 
contradict Califano's assumptions.

Califano means well, but he relies on addiction theory rooted in 19th- 
century personality theory, which continues to fail to help alcoholics, 
addicts and society with this problem.

Jeff Anderson

Lexington, Ky.
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