American Society of Addiction Medicine

American Society of Addiction Medicine

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).

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.


To improve the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions, educate physicians and medical students, promote research and prevention, and inform the medical community and the public about these issues.[3]

This content page uses material from the Wikipedia article “American Society of Addiction Medicine”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Understanding the New ASAM Criteria

National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Webinar

This free webinar will update participants on what is new since the last edition ASAM PPC-2R, 2001. It will highlight compatibility with DSM-5 and new sections on older adults, criminal justice clients, parents with children and people in safety sensitive occupations. It will also discuss emerging approaches in addiction around Tobacco Use Disorder and Gambling Disorder.


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