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I’m shocked at the little media coverage, besides the New York Times article (and a few other posts here and there ) being done on the passing of Addiction Medicine pioneer Dr.Griffith Edwards. He made insurmountable contributions to the field of addiction and it’s role in the medical industry.

Addiction is still seen as the black sheep, the big taboo and the negative stigma doesn’t seem to go away. Why is that? Will we ever begin to pay attention, accept reality and move forward?

Dr.Griffith Edwards died of a stroke on September 13th, 2012 in a Hospice in Greenwich, England. He dedicated his life to the study and research of alcoholism and addiction medicine as a science and not just a social problem. He formulated definitions of drug and alcohol dependence that are used worldwide to diagnose and treat substance abuse.

“He was one of the few true giants who moved the alcohol and drug field into mainstream medicine,” said Dr. Marc A. Schuckit, a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, “one of the first to begin asking questions in a systematic way about these problems” rather than merely describing them.

Dr.Griffith Edwards really wanted to know what made an alcoholic an alcoholic. He performed studies on drinkers, conducted talk therapies, researched the psychological, social and political implications of the chronic disease; publishing his findings in The British Journal of Addiction, American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization.

Dr.Edwards is the father of the “matching hypothesis” which almost every treatment, including Palm Partners, uses when developing a treatment plan for clients. In 1977, Dr.Edwards and a team of researchers compared the effects of a standard long-term counseling program for heavy drinkers with a single “advice” session. After two years, those with more severe dependence were drinking less, on average, if they had received the more intensive therapy.

Dr. Babor, a top editor for Dr. Edwards’s journal, now called Addiction, added, “He was the father of some of the major conceptual advances in this field.”

Dr.Edwards also made strides in the education and community aspects of addiction. He supported the following crucial initiatives:

  • development of a broad structured response to alcohol and other drug problems, including appropriate and high quality medical and psychiatric services
  • development of new approaches to alcoholics who are homeless and also people in prison.
  • establishment of the first Therapeutic Community for treatment of Drug Dependence, Phoenix House
  • development of community based services for alcohol problems
  • founding of the Charity Action on Addiction
  • developing country issues and links with the World Health Organization

Professor Edwards’s academic work involved research in tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and has supported a training, research, treatment and policy approach that combines all substances that are addictive into a coherent theoretical framework. He promoted an approach that combines the basic sciences of addiction, to the more applied and social sciences and sought to promote an evidenced based policy approach that was fully scientifically informed.

He was nothing short of brilliant and we thank him for his contributions to the science of addiction and in helping fight addiction all across the globe.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for their alcohol addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at



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