A Special Thank You to Dr. Herb Kleber for His Dedication and Continued Support
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of Dr. Herb Kleber, MD, to the intelligent and productive, public discourse on substance abuse and addiction. Whether his audience is Congressional policy makers, national media, medical professionals and fellow board members for leading prominent treatment centers, the National Institutes of Health or the parents of the millions of adolescents and young adults struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.
I first met Herb in 1989 when he became the first Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). He set a high standard for that job responsibility and his medical and scientific knowledge remain unsurpassed and universally acknowledged. Yet even with his impressive medical and academic background, Herb can still speak to the same issues in common language understandable and empowering to all. He brings thoughtful, reasoned, and experienced-based perspectives to the complex process of reducing the tremendous toll that addiction takes on so many lives.
We are grateful to Herb’s service as a member of our Board of Directors since 2001. He has been particularly helpful to The Partnership at Drugfree.org in understanding teen use of drugs and alcohol and what parents can do to prevent, intervene, find treatment for and support recovery from addiction in their kids.
Herb’s consistently ‘right on’ insights are most likely a product of the numerous roles he has played and stem from the many perspectives from which he has viewed the issue of addiction. He has been the leader of a primary treatment provider, a practicing individual therapist, a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Science, a national policymaker at a cabinet level agency and many of the leading academic research centers to name but a few. He can combine a caring, compassionate approach, with a staunch demand for evidence-based results, along with a practical, real-life understanding of how the process works.
I am proud to call Herb my friend, and am most impressed with his personal commitment, passion and energy to helping so many of us working in this field make better decisions about how to best leverage our resources. No matter his book-length CV and rooms full of awards and recognitions, Herb has an abundance of grace and a profound human appreciation for the pain of addiction and the hope and redemption of recovery.
As Herb formally steps down from our Board, he will continue to participate in our board meetings as a liaison to our Scientific Advisory Board and continues to support our important work. Perhaps the best way to share my respect for Herb is this: If I had only one call to make about a major decision regarding our programs, or a personal question about getting help for someone in my family, that one call I would make would be to Herb Kleber.
- Tom Hedrick, Senior Communications Officer
Founding Member of The Partnership at Drugfree.org