Prof. Hamid Ghodse (1938-2012)


 Prof. Hamid Ghodse (1938-2012)

It is with deepest sadness that I share the news of death of Professor Hamid Ghodse who was a dear friend, mentor and a true professional colleague. He was a great leader in international psychiatry and a leading academician and policy maker in the field of mental health. He had served as Professor of Psychiatry in St Georges Hospital, University of London and in charge of International Drug Policy Department in addition to serving Royal College of Psychiatrists and UN International Narcotics Control Board in many lead positions. He had been Medical Director of the UK National Clinical Excellence Awards, Chairman of the International Health Advisory Board (IHAB) and the Senior Professional advisor to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Group photograph taken at the Midland Psychiatric Research Group meeting
at Coventry shows Prof. Hamid Ghodse standing with Prof Norman Sartorius
Former Head of mental Health Division at WHO, Prof Pedro Ruiz, Current president
WPA and Dr Oliver Wilson, founder President of WAPR and Dr. Afzal Javed.

He was awarded the highest honour of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, by being elected an Honorary Fellow in 2006, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in 2008 and International Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). 
He established the International Centre for Drug Policy at St George’s University of London and over the years attracted substantial funding for research programmes and projects in psychiatry, mental health, addictions and medical education. He was President of the European Collaborating Centres on Addiction Studies (ECCAS).
Hamid Ghodse was the first psychiatrist to be the President of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, and was elected to this position for a record ten times. He served the Board as one of the 13 elected members of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board from 1992 to his death. At his death, International Narcotics Board (INCB) remembered him stating that “as a member of the International Narcotics Control Board since 1992, Professor Ghodse made major contributions to heighten the relevance of international cooperation among the community of nations in matters of international drug control, to which he brought his unique and outstanding academic and scientific knowledge, combined with remarkable leadership, wisdom and elegant diplomacy”.
He was awarded the civil honour of CBE (“Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”) in 1999 for his dedication to research and clinical practice. He conducted research over 40 years in the areas of substance misuse and addiction and supervised a large number of professionals in their higher education. His keen interest in teaching and training was reflected in establishing undergraduate, postgraduate and multi-professional training programmes in addiction, the benefit of which is reflected in the numbers of professionals including academics, psychiatrists, public health practitioners, specialist nurses, social workers and psychologists leading the delivery of services in communities throughout the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world.
He published over 350 papers, chapters and a number of books, of which those on legal and clinical aspects have become standard works. Some of his other books, “Addiction at Work” (Gower Publishing), “International Drug Control in 21st Century” (Ashgate Publishing), “Ghodse’s Drugs and Addictive Behaviour”(4th Edition, Cambridge University Press) and “Substance Abuse Disorders” (Wiley-Blackwell Publication) are other ground-breaking works. He was an Advisor on analgesic and on psychotropic medication (Section 4) to the British National Formulary from 1982.
He was a true and sincere friend of Pakistan. He visited Pakistan many times and had always attended meetings of Pakistani psychiatrists in Pakistan and UK. His love and affection to Pakistani psychiatrists was evident from his participation in British Pakistani Psychiatrists annual meeting in November 2012 despite his illness and other international commitments. Professor Hamid Ghodse’s legacy, leadership and vision in the field of international drug control as well as in international psychiatry will provide guidance and inspiration to generations to come.
May Allah rest his soul in peace!

Afzal Javed