Herbert David Kleber

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Herbert David Kleber (June 19, 1934 – October 5, 2018)[1] was an American psychiatrist and substance abuse researcher of Jewish descent.

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Jewish Background

He and his late sister Tema were the children of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. His parents, Max and Dorothea, met as students at the University of Pittsburgh, and were active in Temple life. His mother was proudly photographed with Eleanor Roosevelt for her work raising bonds for the new state of Israel.[2]


In 1968, he founded the Drug Dependence Unit at Yale University, where he was a professor of psychiatry; he headed the Unit until 1989. He then served for two and a half years as the Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the White House.[3]

"He relied on research-backed methods such as medication and therapeutic communities for treating addiction. (...) Unlike many doctors of his time, Dr Kleber viewed addiction not as a moral failure, but as a condition that could only be treated through research, medication and therapy." The Independent[4]

In 1992, Kleber, with his wife Marian Fischman, co-founded the Substance Abuse Division, one of the leading centers in the country for treatment of such abuse, within the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He was director of the Division, and headed a number of projects on new methods to treat individuals with cocaine, heroin, prescription opioid, alcohol, or marijuana problems. He also co-founded the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia with Joseph Califano.

A 2014 article in Vice said that Kleber served as a paid consultant to the opioid pharmaceutical industry.[5]

Dr. Kleber was author or co-author of more than 250 papers, and the co-editor of the American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment, now in its fourth edition. He received numerous prestigious awards and two honorary degrees.

He was listed as one of the "Best Doctors in America" and "Best Doctors in New York," and was elected in 1996 as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.[4] He was on the boards of a number of organizations, including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Betty Ford Institute.


Dr. Kleber passed away of a heart attack on October 5, 2018, while vacationing with his family in Greece.[6]

In popular culture

On October 1, 2019, Google honoured Dr. Herbert Kleber by celebrating what would have been the 23rd anniversary of his election to the National Academy of Medicine, with a Google Doodle.[7] [4]


  1. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"HERBERT KLEBER Obituary". The New York Times. October 11, 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  2. ^ https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=herbert-kleber&pid=190455119&fhid=2086
  3. ^ Template:Cite news
  4. ^ a b c <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"How one man changed the way we view drug addiction". The Independent. 2019-10-01. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  5. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Fang, Lee (2014-08-27). "Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid by Painkiller Drug Companies". Vice. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  6. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Obituary
  7. ^ <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Celebrating Dr. Herbert Kleber". www.google.com. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-01.

External links

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