Dr. Beny J. Primm (Photo source: Facebook)
By Mo Barnes
The name Dr. Beny J. Primm is one that commands great respect in the medical community and the battle against addiction. Dr, Primm died last week at the age of 87. Primm has been an adviser to the National Drug Abuse Policy Office since the Nixon Administration. But he was also internationally respected among the medical community, including the World Health Organization and the International Conference for Ministers of Health on AIDS prevention.
Dr. Primm was born on May 28, 1928, in Williamson, W.Va. His parents, a teacher and a mortician, stressed education. Primm attended Lincoln University on a basketball scholarship but left due to the rigorous academic environment. He returned home and graduated from West Virginia State University. Primm was also a paratrooper in the U.S. Army and after his service was intent on attending medical school. However, no U.S. medical school would take him as a student.
Since Primm studied German in college, he applied to the University of Heidelberg, and was accepted in 1953. He later transferred to the University of Geneva, in Switzerland, and received his M.D. in 1959.
During the turbulent time of the heroin epidemic in New York, Dr. Primm helped to found the Addiction Research Treatment Corporation (ARTC) in Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Primm served as executive director for decades. The ARTC is of the largest minority nonprofit community-based substance abuse treatment programs in the country, treating over 2,300 men and women annually.