SOURCE: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

March 28, 2007 15:09 ET

Dr. Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Executive Publisher of the Journal Science, Elected to CASA* Board

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 28, 2007 -- The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University announced today that Dr. Alan I. Leshner has been elected to its board of directors.

Dr. Leshner currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest, multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering society, and Executive Publisher of the journal Science. He has held these positions since December 2001.

"The addition of Dr. Alan Leshner to the CASA Board of Directors continues our effort to assemble the best and the brightest individuals in our country to lead and counsel CASA," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. "His expertise in science, biology and behavior is unparalleled and will serve as an energizing force behind the cultural revolution needed to bring about an end to substance abuse and addiction in this country."

"Science has come a long way in our approaches to understanding and treating drug addiction, but we still have quite a ways to go," said Leshner. "I am honored to join the CASA Board and to focus on informing Americans that addiction is a treatable, though chronic and relapsing, disease. The science in this field is strong and the success rates for treating addiction are comparable or better than those for many other illnesses. Although a formidable task, this is a problem we can solve if we once and for all put treating addiction on equal footing with other chronic diseases."

Prior to joining the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Leshner was Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) from 1994-2001 and served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 1992-1998. Leshner went to NIMH from the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he held a variety of senior positions, focusing on basic research in the biological, behavioral and social sciences, science policy and science education.

Dr. Leshner is the author of a major textbook on the relationship between hormones and behavior, and has published over 150 papers for both the scientific and lay communities on the biology of behavior, science and technology policy, science education, and public engagement with science.

Dr. Leshner received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physiological psychology from Rutgers University. He holds honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Franklin and Marshall College and the Pavlov Medical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Leshner is a member (and on the governing Council) of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and was appointed by President Bush to the National Science Board in 2004.

CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA has issued 63 reports and white papers, published one book, conducted demonstration projects focused on children, families and schools at 161 sites in 67 cities and counties in 29 states plus Washington, DC and a Native American tribal reservation, and has been evaluating the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment in a variety of programs and drug courts. CASA is the creator of the nationwide initiative Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children™ -- the fourth Monday in September - the 24th in 2007 -- that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children's risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. For more information visit www.casacolumbia.org.

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