With Gratitude to Our Long-Time Friend, Dr. Herb Kleber

We were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our dear friend Dr. Herb Kleber.

Dr. Kleber was a long-time supporter of the Partnership and our important work for almost a quarter century. He served on our Board of Directors and was an integral part of a small and distinguished group of scientists and researchers who understood intuitively that effective communications can be just as critical to addressing substance use as academic studies.

A pioneer in research and treatment of substance use for over 40 years, Dr. Kleber served as a Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division on Substance Abuse at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He and his colleagues helped develop and improve both medications currently used to treat substance use and the psychosocial approaches that accompany them.

Tom Hedrick, founding member of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, said, “Herb Kleber was an early mentor and friend to me and the Partnership. He was a trusted counsel to Jim Burke and our Board. Herb was a significant force for change in our field for over four decades, contributing to national policy development, legislative initiatives, and particularly as a researcher and advocate for evidence-based treatment. No matter his high-level positions and achievements, he always continued to provide treatment for individuals and their families and actively supported their recovery.”

“Herb was a stalwart supporter of the Partnership since before I joined the organization almost 25 years ago,” said Sean Clarkin, who currently serves as a program consultant for the Partnership. “Not only was Herb incredibly intelligent and insightful, but he was tremendously kind and helpful to me personally, not least in the assistance he provided in developing our first Medication-Assisted Treatment e-book. I’ll miss Herb’s mischievous sense of humor and his unwavering dedication to helping patients and their families in need.”

Dr. Kleber was the author of more than 250 papers, and the co-Editor of the American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment. He received numerous prestigious awards, two honorary degrees, is listed as one of the “Best Doctors in America “and “Best Doctors in New York”, and was elected in 1996 to be a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

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