American Society of Addiction Medicine

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American Society of Addiction Medicine
ASAM Logo.jpg
Motto Treat Addiction. Save Lives
Formation 1954 (1954)[1]
Type Professional association
Headquarters Chevy Chase, Maryland
Stuart Gitlow MD MPH MBA, DFAPA
Key people
Penny S. Mills, M.B.A., Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is a physician society with a focus on addiction and its treatment.


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. "NYCMSAODD" was funded largely through the older Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration.[2] As the organization grew, it was subsequently named the American Medical Society on Alcoholism (AMSA).

Interest in addiction medicine grew with the establishment of the NIDA/NIAAA Career Teacher Program for medical school faculty (1970) and the creation of the California Society for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies as the California specialty society for physicians devoting significant time to treatment of chemically dependent patients. In 1982 the American Academy of Addictionology was incorporated and began efforts to achieve recognition for this new specialty within medicine. In April 1983 a single national organization was formed of these groups uniting within AMSA.

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).


1. Increase access to and improve the quality of addictions treatment.
2. Educate physicians, medical and osteopathic students, and the public.
3. Promote research and prevention.
4. Establish addiction medicine as a specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.


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 president serves a two-year term.


Membership is granted to physicians within any specialty or position, including medical directors, researchers and educators.

Annual Conference and Meetings[edit]

ASAM hosts an Annual Conference, which brings together addiction experts internationally.


Ruth Fox Course for Physicians, which educates doctors on addiction medicine.

Comprehensive Medical Review Officer: Toxicology Testing and the Physician's Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, which presents scientific information and guidelines for Medical Review Officers, usually the overseers of various drug testing programs.[3]

State of the Art in Addiction Medicine, a program for addiction medicine professionals in the United States.

Review Course in Addiction Medicine, a primer for physicians and other health care professionals who are preparing for a career in addiction medicine, as well as for primary care providers who wish to increase their skills in identifying and managing patients whose medical problems are caused or exacerbated by substance 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...";[4] 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.[5]

They have criticized the idea that video game playing can be addictive.[6]

They have called for increased funding to treat addiction as a mental health disorder since the early 21st century[7] and proposed in 2011 a new clinical description of addiction, describing addition as a chronic brain chemistry disorder.[8]

Journal of Addiction Medicine[edit]

Journal of Addiction Medicine (JAM) is the official journal of ASAM. JAM functions independently from ASAM in terms of its editorial content. The current Editor-in-Chief is Richard Saitz.

Other Publications[edit]

PPC-2 Supplement

Awards given by ASAM[edit]

Public Policy Award
Media Award
John P. McGovern Award
R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award
ASAM Medical-Scientific Program Committee Award
Young Investigator Award
Annual Awards
Ruth Fox Scholarship


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


External links[edit]