Library Staff


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Old filing system Rolodex used by the Library, circa late 1960s

In 1964, Dr. Kreek (1937-2021) joined the lab of Vincent Dole at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Vincent Dole, along with psychiatrist Marie Nyswander, was researching the biology of addiction. Together with Kreek, the researchers determined that heroin addiction involved neurochemical alterations and that the longer-acting orally administered opioid analgesic methadone could potentially be used to help treat it.
The recognition by Dr. Kreek and her colleagues that heroin addiction was a disorder of the brain that had behavioral consequences was a major shift in a world where addiction was still considered by most people to be a criminal behavior or a moral failing. Working with formerly incarcerated people in active opioid use whom they brought to Rockefeller University Hospital, the research team found that individuals with severe heroin addiction were no longer able to obtain a high (euphoria) from the drug but took it just to feel normal—a crucial distinction that remains central to how we understand addictive behavior today.


exhibit, library, Mary Kreek


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