Champion for Public Health

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Steven Jonas of Stony Brook Medicine tells us more about his life.

“My ‘firm’ is located at my home office. I am a life-long writer. In the course of my 40-plus year-long career I have authored, co-authored, edited and co-edited 36 books (see my book-list on Amazon), as well as numerous columns/articles in the lay and professional periodical press. Although technically retired, I have not stopped writing and continue to do so in a variety of venues, on a variety of subjects.”

Recent successes for Steven include the publication of his 36th book, “Ending the ‘Drug War’; Solving the Drug Problem: The Public Health Approach.” The basic argument is that all of what he calls the Recreational Mood-Altering Drugs (the RMADs) --- beginning with nicotine and alcohol, the two most harmful of them --- should be treated in the same way.

To control/regulate their use so that their negative health effects can be significantly diminished, we should follow the model of one of the most successful non-communicable disease control programs ever, the U.S. National Smoking Cessation Program. Indeed, over time it has reduced the adult cigarette smoking rate in the United States from 45% in 1964 to 18% presently. And guess what? It hasn’t locked up one cigarette smoker. In the meantime, the “drug war” has had virtually no effect on the use of the “illicits” at which it is aimed.

Steven is his own boss. From chief cook and bottle washer to the single author of the firm. He describes the most immediate opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for him.

“The useless, indeed very harmful, ‘Drug War’ is about to be re-intensified by the incoming United States Attorney General. It has been enormously expensive since it was started by President Nixon in 1971, has been ineffective in controlling the use of the RMADs at which it is aimed, and had locked up hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug users.

The current drug policy reform movement focuses primarily on legalising marijuana. My proposal deals with bringing the use of all of the RMADs under control. By using tried-and-true public health methods it can be successful, at much less financial and social cost. I look forward to working with other interested parties, in my own country and internationally, to develop and implement the Public Health Approach to the Drug Problem.


Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, FNYAS Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook Medicine Dept. of Preventive Medicine and the Program in Public Health Stony Brook University c/o 450 Rte. 25A, PO Box 843 East Setauket, NY 11733 email: steven.jonas@stonybrookmedicine.edu Tel. 1 631 473 7228 FAX 1 631 473-5005

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