Dr. Joseph Pursch

Specialist in Addiction Medicine and Treatment


Who is Dr. Pursch?  Go to Professional Biography

Dr. Pursch arrived in America with $2.73 in his pocket. He has become one of our country's leading authorities on Addiction Medicine. 

As director of the Alcohol Rehabilitation Service at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, California from 1973 to 1980, Dr. Pursch gained national attention for the successful treatment of several notable celebrities and public figures. Since he left the Navy, his private practice has treated hundreds of celebrity patients and professional athletes.

As Program Manager for the Men's International Professional Tennis Council, Dr. Pursch supervised the drug testing program for players, linesmen, and other officials at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open Championships and other Grand Slam tournaments. 

He is a consultant to the FAA on issues regarding dependent pilots and has helped several major airlines develop and manage alcohol policies and procedures for their pilots. 

Dr. Pursch lectures worldwide and has served as an expert witness in legal cases.

Bestselling Author & Syndicated Columnist:

His weekly column, Dry Doc, was syndicated worldwide by The Los Angeles Times Syndicate for 13 years.

His best selling book, Dear Doc, sold over 350,000 copies (Order it)

Awards, Honors & Special Appointments:

  • The Distinguished Service Medal from the President of the United States in 1980
  • Airline Medical Director’s Award
  • Association of Military Surgeons – William C. Porter Award
  • Appointment to President Carter’s Commission on Alcoholism in 1980
  • Appointments to President Reagan’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Drunk Driving in 1982
  • R. Brinkley Smithers Award in 2001

Current Affiliations:

  • Consultant to the Federal Aviation Administration
  • Consultant to the U.S. Navy Surgeon General on Addictions and Alcoholism
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Psychiatry of the Uniformed Services
  • University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  • Board of Trustees, National Commission Against Drunk Driving
  • Board of Directors, National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, Inc.

Military Career:

  • 1960 – 1963 
    Navy Flight Surgeon aboard aircraft carrier USS Forrestal
  • 1963 – 1966 
    Psychiatric Residency at Bethsda Naval Hospital; also personal physician to the Secretary of the Navy, Paul Nitze, during Kennedy/Johnson Administration
  • 1966 – 1968 
    Assistant Chief of Psychiatry, Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, and Special Board of Flight Surgeons; Chief of Psychiatry, US Naval Hospital Pensacola, Florida
  • 1968 – 1970 
    Chief, Neuropsychiatry Outpatient Clinic, Naval Dispensary, Washington, D.C.; Medical member of Chief of Naval Operations Drug Abuse team, Giving presentations at Department of Defense installations and U.S. Embassies worldwide
  • 1970 – 1973 
    Chief of Psychiatry, U.S. Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy; established U.S. Navy’s first overseas alcohol/drug rehabilitation program
  • 1973 – 1980 
    Director, Alcohol Rehabilitation Service, Naval Regional Medical Center, Long Beach, CA, designed a physician training course for substance abuse treatment and achieved national prominence with the treatment of high-ranking military and civilian members of the U.S. government


  • Graduate of the University of Indiana School of Medicine

  • American Psychiatric Association Fellow

  • Aerospace Medical Association Fellow

  • American College of Physicians Fellow


Awards & Honors

Network Television Appearances

Published Works

Professional Biography