Dr. G. Douglas Talbott was one of the most forceful voices in advocating the recognition of alcoholism as a disease. A pioneer in educating physicians about substance abuse and in offering substance abuse treatment programs for medical professionals, Dr. Talbott created the first treatment program specifically designed to meet the requirements of physicians suffering from the disease of addiction. He was the guiding force who helped the Talbott Recovery Campus establish a national reputation as the treatment center of choice for addicted healthcare professionals.
Dr. Talbott was a formative figure in the AMA’s Impaired Physicians Program, creating the DeKalb County Impaired Physicians Committee, which became the official program for the Medical Association of Georgia. This program then became a national model for treating impaired physicians and other health professionals. In 1976 he entered the private treatment business.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Talbott’s path collided with Ben Underwood, a respected leader in the field of behavioral health and addiction treatment. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Ben began his career in the mid-1960s as Associate Administrator of Atlanta’s Metropolitan Psychiatric Center, later serving as President and CEO. He then served as CEO of Ridgeview Institute before becoming President and CEO of Safe Centers, which operated chemical dependency programs around the southeast.
Together, Dr. Talbott and Ben Underwood co-developed and launched the Talbott Recovery Program, with Underwood serving as CEO beginning in 1985. In 1989, they opened the Talbott Recovery Campus which became a model for the treatment of physicians and other professionals such as nurses, dentists and veterinarians.
Talbott’s success with health professionals led the organization to expand its programming to others regardless of their occupations. In the 1990s this included a modified version for adolescents and young adults. This expansion allowed thousands to receive the same core treatment as professionals received.
Dr. Talbott was an addiction treatment icon and a nationally recognized authority on alcoholism and other drug addictions. He consulted at the White House, authored dozens of papers and articles, published numerous books, appeared frequently on television programs and talk shows, lectured and conducted workshops throughout the United States and Canada.
Doc (or “Doccy” as he was affectionately called by his family) was also passionate about the game of squash, and for many years was a nationally ranked masters player. After 67 years of marriage, six kids and a remarkable career, Dr. Talbott passed away in 2014.