Google celebrates pioneering doctor who changed how drug addiction is viewed
In this undated photo, Dr. Herbert Kleber tells symposium participants that effective drug abuse treatment will include both medications and behavioral interventions.
Google celebrates pioneering doctor who changed how drug addiction is viewed
Franco Luna (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2019 - 6:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Google Doodle is commemorating the life and work of Dr. Herbert Kleber who was hailed as one of the “Best Doctors in America” for his work on research and evidence-based treatment of drug addiction.

The Google post also coincided with the 23rd anniversary of Kleber’s election to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine. The doodle, illustrated by artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka, shows the late doctor in a therapy session with a patient shown to be wrestling with inner turmoil. 

NEWSLAB: The War on Drugs

Kleber took his pre-med at Dartmouth where he discovered his newfound passion in psychology. He later founded the Drug Dependence Unit at Yale University where he taught psychiatry. 

During his time in the field, Dr. Kleber made great strides in the way society perceived those struggling with addiction by raising awareness among healthcare providers and policymakers.

In a day and age where many doctors viewed addictions of the sort as a moral failure and a character defect, Kleber sought to view drug addiction as a condition to be treated through medication and therapy.

Google Doodle honoring Dr. Herbert Kleber.
Google Doodle


His efforts reached the level of public policy when he was appointed Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the administration of then-President George H.W. Bush, during which he successfully implemented policies pushing for the prevention, education and treatment on illegal drugs leading to their decreased demand. 

READ: Here's a possible consequence of Philippines' suspension of aid from backers of UN drug war probe

He passed away on this day in 2018 in Santorini, Greece, while traveling with his wife and children. At the time, he served as Professor of Psychiatry and Emeritus Director of the Division on Substance Use Disorders at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

“Of course I’m an optimist,” Kleber was once quoted as saying. “How else do I work with addicts for 40 years?”

Today, drug addiction is medically referred to as substance use disorder, a mental condition diagnosed by psychiatrists and psychologists affecting one’s behavior and leading to an inability to regulate drug use.

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