Richard Saitz, M.D., M.P.H., internationally and locally respected in alcohol and drug addiction research, died January 15 from pancreatic cancer. Dr. Saitz, who changed the treatment of alcohol withdrawal and whose commitment to his patients was well known, was also a beloved mentor to up and coming addiction scholars and clinicians.
Dr. Saitz was professor of medicine at Boston University, where he directed Boston Medical Center’s Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit for more than a decade. He was associate editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association, editor-in chief of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, section editor and sole author of key chapters in UpToDate on healthy substance use, an editor of the ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine, editor emeritus of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, editor of Evidence-Based Medicine, author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, and former president of the Association for Medial Education and Research in Substance Abuse.
Dr. Saitz never hesitated to respond to our questions, and he was adamant about making addiction treatment more widely available and eliminating language-initiated stigma.
Dr. Saitz was 58 years old; the cause of death was pancreatic cancer.