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Leaders reflect on death of addiction medicine pioneer

December 26, 2013
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Jokichi “Joe” Takamine III, 89, a pioneer in the addiction medicine specialty and a co-founder of one of the first addiction treatment facilities on the West Coast in the 1970s, died Dec. 18 in Santa Monica, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported.

Leaders in addiction medicine credited Takamine, a private-practice physician since 1957, with enlightening medical students and other healthcare professionals about the true nature of addiction. A blog posted by the Malibu Beach Recovery Center quoted University of Florida Department of Psychiatry Chairman Mark Gold, MD, as saying about Takamine, “He taught about the disease of addiction at a time when most physicians thought addiction and addicts were problems that did not need to be discussed or belonged in academic medical centers.”

Takamine co-founded the St. John’s Chemical Dependency Center in Los Angeles in 1974, making it that city’s first addiction treatment facility. He also served as medical director of the chemical dependency units of several Southern California community hospitals, and was named to the American Medical Association Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

A World War II veteran, Takamine was the grandson of famed Japanese biochemist Jokichi Takamine.

The Los Angeles Times obituary stated that donations in Takamine’s memory may be made to an addiction treatment organization such as Clare Foundation, Friendly House or Phoenix House.

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