"Father of detox" dies in Prague at age 91
Jaroslav Skala, a world pioneer in alcohol addiction treatment, died in Prague on Monday at the age of 91. He will be remembered as the man who founded the very first alcohol detox centre in the country, a doctor who turned teetotaler to help his patients, an internationally recognized specialist known as “the father of detox”.
“I consider it a crucial mistake that patients are given a liver transplant without being made to undergo treatment for alcoholism. They leave the hospital with a new liver and drink themselves to death a few years later. I would make people accept more responsibility for their health - in other words - you can have a liver transplant if you make an effort to cure your addiction. We greatly underestimate the danger of alcoholism – it is something that builds gradually and then hits you like a tidal wave.”
Jaroslav Skala wrote more than 100 books on the subject many of which were published abroad. Dr. Ivan Douda who used to work with him at the centre for alcoholics says he was greatly respected abroad where he was known as “the father of detox”:
In 2002 Jaroslav Skala was awarded a high state distinction, the Order of Merit for his lifelong work in the field. At the close of his career he said in an interview “Alcohol never gave me anything that I could not find elsewhere.”