Tomáš Zábranský, M.D., Ph.D, graduate of the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, epidemiologist and addictionologist, one of the founders of the field of addictology in the Czech Republic, died at the age of 52 early this July.
Tomáš Zábranský was born in 1969 in Hranice na Moravě. He graduated from the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in 1993 with a degree in General Medicine and received his doctorate from the same faculty in the field of epidemiology, hygiene, and preventive medicine. He also taught courses in drug abuse epidemiology for pre-graduate students at the Department of Public Health of our alma mater.
His main research interests were drug abuse epidemiology and associated morbidity and mortality. He also dedicated himself to the study of legal and illegal drug markets and the evaluation of drug policies. In his final years he intensively devoted himself to the area of therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids. He was one of the initiators and proponents of cannabis therapy here, and to a great degree was responsible for its adoption in the Czech Republic.
From 1999–2001, he was at the birth of the drug information system in the Czech Republic and the foundation of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction. He was the lead investigator of the PAD study, which Investigated the impacts of revisions in drug legislation in the Czech Republic after 1998, the result of which led to recodification of criminal drug offenses in the new criminal law statutes of 2009.
From 2003–2004 was in the USA on a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was also a collaborating researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the RAND Drug Policy Research Center think tank.
In 2005, he was at the founding of the field of addictology and the Department of Addictology (originally the Addictology Centre), at the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague and the General University Hospital in Prague, where he also taught.
He was the head of the ResAd research and advisory group and worked throughout the world as an expert on introducing systems of monitoring drug situations and modifications of drug policies. He was especially active in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (the BUMAD, SCAD, CADAP projects). He worked with UN agencies, and in Europe especially with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), where he also was a member of its advisory board since 2016, nominated by the European Parliament.
He was the main organiser of the international conferences Urban Drug Policy (2009) and Medical Cannabis Conference 2015. He also took part in the foundation and operations of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) in Prague.
From 2006–2016, he served as an external advisor to members of the Czech government – ministers Ivan Langer and Svatopluk Němeček, and prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
He was the author of more than a hundred publications in peer-reviewed journals and monographs and the author of two scientific books. He was the deputy editor of the impact journal Harm Reduction Journal, a member of the editorial board of the impact journal Journal of Drug Issues and the Czech scientific journal Adiktologie, and also a member of several Czech professional associations, the International Think Tank for Analysis of Drug Policy (UK) and the Independent Reference Group to the United Nations on HIV and Injecting Drug Use.
His other interests included translation, modern and classical music, literature, and photography. From 1993–98 he translated 22 books of prose and fiction from English into Czech, most often in tandem with UP alumnus David Záleský; the duo received the national Jungmann Prize for Translation for their inventive translation of John Lennon’s Skywriting by Word of Mouth (Nanebepění).
In 2017 he suffered an injury, from whose repercussions he never fully recovered.
Tomáš Zábranský made an indelible mark in the field of addictology in the Czech Republic, he was highly active and prominent in the field internationally, and significantly contributed to making Czech addictology and drug abuse epidemiology visible on the international level.
His legacy lives on!
Doc. MUDr. Viktor Mravčík, Ph.D., fellow student, close friend and fellow co-worker, head of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction
Doc. MUDr. Helena Kollárová, Ph.D., head of the Department of Public Health, UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry