Herman Joseph, PhD 1931 – 2019
May 6, 2019
Dr. Joseph was one of the important influences on addiction and criminal justice during the latter 20th and early 21st century. For more than 50 years he has worked as a social research scientist in the interrelated fields of addiction, treatment, criminal justice, street studies, homelessness, basic research and program development at the NYC Office of Probation, the Rockefeller University and the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).
In the early 1970’s Dr. Joseph negotiated services, both personnel and facilities and developed in a citywide network of five probation methadone clinics. In these programs he developed the first vocational guidance and employment service for unemployed probationers, and, with the NYC Department of Health, the first urine testing service in probation. These initiatives changed heroin addiction from an intractable problem for probation into a manageable issue. He was a member of the team that developed the first ‘in jail’ methadone maintenance program, known as KEEP, for addicted prisoners in Rikers Island Jail; an intervention that has been implemented across many countries throughout the world.In the mid-1970s Dr. Joseph joined Dr. Vincent P. Dole at The Rockefeller University to plan, conduct and supervise the first detailed large-scale follow-up study of patients who left methadone treatment (Dole and Joseph, 1978).In the mid 1980’s he joined the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and a member of the research team. During the AIDS epidemic prisoners that were drug users and HIV positive were put in an old building at Riker’s Island. The building was awful. The windows were sealed and temperatures rose in he Summer and during he cold months there was often no heat, it was infested with roaches and rats and sometimes the inmates did not get their medication. Dr. Joseph and other OASAS employees brought bagels to the inmates every Saturday morning. Eventually the group went on a Food Strike to get the attention of the city and the result was a new building. He organized the Crack Cocaine Research Working Group, later known as the Chemical Dependency Research Working Group (CDRWG) in the mid-1990s with the support of grants from the Aaron Diamond Foundation. Dr. Joseph organized a series of symposia and conferences covering major aspects of addiction, research and treatment, including a consortium of major medical centers to study neonates exposed to cocaine/crack in utero. Other projects and studies included addressing the HIV epidemic in NYC including: the need for harm reduction services and the spread of HIV, HBV and HCV among street/homeless population who used shelters, soup kitchens and medical vans; presenting the first conference on chemical dependency and disability as well as the first conference on hepatitis C and the chemically dependent patient; assisting mentally ill homeless to obtain housing; studies of the biology of crack cocaine, pain management and chemically dependent patients, and helping to set up and evaluate methadone medical maintenance programs in NY State.During the 1990’s he also set up several Medical Maintenance Programs (Office Based Opioid Treatment) throughout the state.He also authored a major study on social stigma targeting the methadone program and patients and worked at introducing the use of the buprenorphine-naloxone combination in harm reduction and at Rikers Island jail.Dr. Joseph authored or co-authored over 125 published papers and government reports and, with David Courtwright and Don DesJarlais, co-authored the book, Addicts Who Survived. With Dr. Barry Stimmel he edited the book, The Neurobiology of Cocaine Addiction. He was editor of special issues of the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Addictive Diseases and has also given numerous presentations on addiction and other topics at national and international conferences.Dr. Joseph has served on NAMA Recovery’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board and was our Ambassador at Large.Commendations and Awards: Sen. Jacob Javits had Dr. Joseph’s paper on probation methadone clinics entered into the Congressional Record (1971); Commendation in 1974 from the commissioner of probation, John Wallace, for developing the probation methadone clinics and the Vocational Guidance Program in the Bronx; Nyswander/Dole “Marie” Award (1991); Life-time Legacy Award and Proclamation from City of Cleveland (1999); NAMA Recovery Award as Honorary Patient (2003); and Award from International Association for Pain and Chemical Dependency (2007).
We at NAMA Recovery will miss Dr. Joseph he was a friend to patients and professionals.
Dole, V.P. and Joseph, H. 1978. Long term outcome of patients treated with methadone maintenance. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 311: 181-189.
Courtwright, D., Joseph, H. Des Jarlais, D 1989. Addicts Who Survived. Univ of Tennessee Press; 1 edition.
Joseph, H., Simmel, B. 1997. The Neurobiology of Cocaine Addiction: From Bench to Bedside. Routledge; 1 edition.