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One billion dollars over the course of 20 years--or $50 million a year--that's how much the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has given to addiction prevention and treatment. But last month, the Princeton, N.J.-based philanthropy said this era is coming to an end; existing grants will be honored, but the addiction category will be shut down and funding instead will go to "vulnerable populations" such as the homeless and the severely mentally ill (ADAW Oct. 2, 2006).
The question on the lips of everyone in the field now is: who is going to replace RWJF, by far the largest private supporter of addiction prevention and treatment, in years to come? And the next question is, why did they do it?
"We're extremely disappointed that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is de-emphasizing addiction," Paul Samuels, director of the Legal Action Center, told ADAW. "Just five years ago, they declared that substance abuse was the nation's number-one health problem, which we agreed with--and we still do."
Henry Wechsler, M.D., director of college alcohol studies at the Harvard School of Public Health, is concerned because the RWJF provided the main support for studies that dealt with environmental issues of drinking. "NIAAA grants have been largely given to researchers who look at the individual mechanisms," he told …