Google, today, honoured Dr Herbet Kleber, one of the greatest psychiatrists in the world known for his groundbreaking work into addiction and substance abuse, by means of a doodle. He worked for around five decades in the field of substance abuse and his work changed the way addiction was perceived.
Today marks the 23rd anniversary of Dr Kleber’s election to the renowned National Academy of Medicine.
This doodle, which shows Dr Kleber working with a patient, was illustrated by Massachusetts-based artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
Born on 19 June, 1934 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Dr Kleber studied medicine at Dartmouth College. It was here that he decided to pursue more work in the field of psychology. In 1964, when volunteering for the United States Public Health Service, he was deployed to a prison hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where many prisoners were being treated for substance abuse and addiction. Dr Kleber noticed that many of them would relapse post their treatment, which led him to devise a new “evidence-based” method to treat them.
Instead of perceiving addiction as a moral and ethical failure, he viewed it as a medical condition and meticulously used medication so that the relapse could be prevented. He began his work when addiction was hardly given any importance by healthcare experts and this method of treating addiction was radically different from how addiction was viewed and treated in the past. His brilliant work helped patients mitigate the discomforts of withdrawal, avoid the possibilities of relapse, and stay in the path of recovery.
Dr Kleber’s pathbreaking work attracted the attention of President George H. W Bush, who appointed him Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Unfortunately, this great man passed away on 15th October 2018 but his ingenious work in the field of addiction and substance abuse will always be remembered for years to come.