Skip to main content

Interview with Mary Jeanne Kreek

In this interview, Mary Jeanne Kreek talks about her experience with having paralytic polio at age eleven, her interests growing up, and the story of coming to The Rockefeller University in 1964 to develop, along with Vincent Dole and Marie Nyswander, methadone as replacement therapy for heroin addiction. She describes her initial research with heroin addicts and her research on the medical safety and physiologic effects of methadone, which led to its FDA approval. She gives detailed accounts of her research on gene variants and addiction and the ways addiction affects gene expression and behavior.

Throughout the interview, Kreek describes Rockefeller as she has experienced it over the years. She talks about her success in advancing methadone-replacement treatment in China, Israel, and elsewhere—and her ongoing frustration with the stigma of addiction and methadone-maintenance treatment in the U.S.

This short film is excerpted from the oral history interview conducted with Mary Jeanne Kreek on March 8 and 9, 2017.