American Society of Addiction Medicine

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American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
Logo of American Society of Addiction Medicine
Motto Treat Addiction. Save Lives
Formation 1954 (1954)[1]
Type Professional association
Legal status 501(c)(3)[2]
Headquarters Rockville, Maryland[3]
Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM[4]
Penny S. Mills, MBA[5]

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is an addiction medicine professional society representing over 5,000 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals with a focus on addiction and its treatment. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction.


ASAM has its roots in research and clinical traditions that pre-date its founding in the early 1950s, when Ruth Fox, M.D. began regular meetings with other physicians interested in alcoholism and its treatment at the New York Academy of Medicine. In 1954 these physicians established the New York City Medical Society on Alcoholism (later expanded as NYCMSA and Other Drug Dependencies) with Dr. Fox as its first President.

ASAM was admitted to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates as a voting member in June 1988, and in June 1990 the AMA added addiction medicine (ADM) to its list of designated specialties.

In 1989, to reflect the Society's concern with all drugs of addiction as well as its interest in establishing addiction medicine as part of mainstream medicine, the organization was renamed the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

They also released their very well known Definition of Addiction, ASAM Criteria, ASAM Handbook of Addiction Medicine, and ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine, each of which are widely considered benchmarks in the Addiction Medicine field.


Ruth Fox, MD, (1895–1989) graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago. She and her colleagues dedicated their medical practice to the treatment of alcoholics, and introduced Antabuse, and promoted the use of Alcoholics Anonymous and other therapeutic modalities in the treatment of addiction. She was the first President of the Society (1954) and the first Medical Director of the National Council on alcoholism (1958). As a psychiatrist, she treated hundreds of patients and published widely on alcoholism. She lectured regularly to educate doctors and others about alcoholism as a disease.

The winner of a number of honors, she received, among others, the Citation of Merit award from the Malvern Institute for Psychiatric and Alcoholic Studies in 1963; the Silver Key award from the National Council on Alcoholism in 1972, and the annual award from the American Medical Society on Alcoholism in 1973.

She was a fellow of several groups including the American Psychiatric Association, the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, the American Health Association and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Fox retired in 1979.


To increase access to and improve the quality of addiction treatment; to educate physicians (including medical and osteopathic students), other health care providers and the public; to support research and prevention; to promote the appropriate role of the physician in the care of patients with addiction; and to establish addiction medicine as a specialty recognized by professional organizations, governments, physicians, purchasers and consumers of health care services, and the general public.


ASAM is governed by its officers, including the President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, the Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer, and the Board of Directors consisting of six Directors-At-Large, 10 Regional Directors and four ex officio positions. The elected officers serve a two-year term, while the Directors-at-Large and Regional Directors serve a four-year term.


ASAM represents more than 5,000 physicians and associated professionals in the Addiction Medicine Field. Their membership categories include regular members, early career physicians, residents, medical students and associate members. Members have access to textbooks, guidelines, the ASAM criteria, continuing medical education workshops, and live and online courses.

Annual conference and meetings[edit]

Part of ASAM's mission is to educate providers and the public about the practice of Addiction Medicine. The ASAM Annual Conference is the nation’s premiere event providing the latest innovations and scientific developments in Addiction Medicine. The ASAM annual conference attracts physicians, non-physicians and other professionals in the addiction medicine field; past notable speakers have been Patrick Kennedy and Michael Botticelli, and the Surgeon General of the United States.

The 2018 ASAM Annual Conference will be held in San Diego.


  • The ASAM Pain & Addiction: Common Threads Course: Explores the latest research and clinical approaches to treating the complex overlap between pain and addiction.
  • The ASAM Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine: A practical, interactive case-based course for primary care physicians and clinicians to help recognize, treat and refer patients at risk for or with substance use disorders (SUD).
  • The ASAM Review Course in Addiction Medicine: The ASAM Review Course is a primer for physicians taking the exam and clinicians preparing for a career in addiction medicine.
  • The ASAM State of the Art Course: Advanced level of knowledge and breakthroughs in preventing, diagnosing and treating addiction for physicians and clinicians.
  • The CO*RE/ASAM ER/LA Opioid REMS Course: Reviews safe prescribing habits and examines the difference between long acting and extended release medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders.
  • The ASAM Buprenorphine Course: Provides the required 8 hours needed to obtain the waiver to prescribe buprenorphine in office-based treatment of opioid use disorders.


ASAM advocates for parity in training, credentialing and privileging; access to treatment; and payment for treatment.


ASAM is critical of the current regulatory state of marijuana, holding that there is no such thing as appropriate medical use of the plant cannabis; in 2010, the society published a white paper calling for federal regulations to oversee research and development of cannabis based medicines and issued recommendations for state medical authorities to "...assure that physicians who choose to discuss the medical use of cannabis and cannabis-based products with patients...[a]dhere to the established professional tenets of prr patient care...";[3] in 2012 the society stated that there is no "Medical marijuana" because the plant parts in question fails to meet the standard requirements for approved medicines, that Marijuana has many serious, negative health effects.[4]

They have called for increased funding to treat addiction as a mental health disorder since the early 21st century[6] and proposed in 2011 a new clinical description of addiction, describing addiction as a chronic brain chemistry disorder.[7]

Journal of Addiction Medicine[edit]

Published six times per year, the Journal of Addiction Medicine (JAM) is the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The mission of JAM is to promote excellence in the practice of addiction medicine and in clinical research as well as to support addiction medicine as a mainstream medical specialty. Under the guidance of an esteemed Editorial Board, peer-reviewed articles published in the Journal focus on developments in addiction medicine as well as on treatment innovations and ethical, economic, forensic, and social topics including:

  • Adolescent addiction
  • Neuroimaging techniques
  • Treatment of special populations
  • Gambling addiction
  • Pathophysiology of addiction

The current Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Richard Saitz.

Other publications[edit]

Awards given[edit]

The ASAM periodically gives a number of awards[6]:

  • Annual Award
  • Annual Conference Program Committee Award
  • ASAM-Millennium Research Institute Annual Conference Program Committee Award
  • ASAM-Millennium Research Institute Research Fellowship Award
  • The John P. McGovern Award on Addiction and Society
  • The R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award
  • Media Award
  • Presidential Award
  • Public Policy Award
  • Ruth Fox Scholarships
  • Young Investigator Award

John P. McGovern Award on Addiction and Society[edit]

Year Winner
2017 David Mee-Lee
2016 Carol McDaid
2015 Mark S. Gold
2014 Paul N. Samuels
2013 Nora D. Volkow
2012 David R. Gastfriend
2011 A. Thomas McLellan
2010 David L. Rosenbloom
2009 Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
2008 H. Westley Clark
2007 William L. White
2006 Carlo C. DiClemente
2005 Congressman James Marvin "Jim" Ramstad, R-MN
2004 (no recipient)
2003 David C. Lewis
2002 William B. O'Brien
2001 Beny J. Primm
2000 Betty Ford, Former First Lady of the United States
1999 Robert L. DuPont
1998 Daniel J. Anderson


Term President
1954–1961 Ruth Fox, MD
1961–1963 Stanley Gitlow, MD
1963–1965 Luther A. Cloud, MD
1965–1967 Percy E. Ryberg, MD
1967–1969 Arnold S. Zentner, MD
1969–1971 Ruth Fox, MD
1971–1973 Stanley Gitlow, MD
1973–1975 Maxwell N. Weisman, MD
1975–1977 Charles S. Lieber, MD
1977–1979 Joseph J. Zuska, MD
1979–1981 Sheila B. Blume, MD
1981–1983 LeClair Bissell, MD
1983–1985 Irvin L. Blose, MD
1985–1987 Max A. Schneider, MD
1987–1989 Margaret Bean-Bayog, MD
1989–1991 Jasper G. Chen See, MD
1991–1993 Anthony B. Radcliffe, MD
1993–1995 Anne Geller, MD
1995–1997 David E. Smith, MD
1997–1999 G. Douglas Talbott, MD
1999–2001 Marc Galanter, MD, FASAM
2001–2002 Andrea Barthwell, MD, FASAM
2002–2005 Lawrence S. Brown, Jr., MD
2005–2007 Elizabeth F. Howell, MD
2007–2009 Michael M. Miller, MD
2009–2011 Louis E. Baxter, Sr., MD, FASAM
2011–2013 Donald J. Kurth, MD
2013–2015 Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM
2015–2017 R. Jeffrey Goldsmith, MD, DLFAPA, DFASAM
2017-2019 Kelly J. Clark, MD, MBA, DFAPA, DFASAM


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "American Society of Addiction Medicine Inc." Exempt Organization Select Check. Internal Revenue Service. Accessed on May 22, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". American Society of Addiction Medicine. Guidestar. December 31, 2014.
  4. ^ "Board of Directors". American Society of Addiction Medicine. Accessed on May 22, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "ASAM Staff". American Society of Addiction Medicine. Accessed on May 22, 2016.
  6. ^ "ASAM Award Programs". Retrieved 2017-09-11. 

External links[edit]