Quality & Science

Editorial Comment 5/11/2021: Addiction and The Law

by Editor-in-Chief: Dr. William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM | May 11, 2021

This week I have the remarkable opportunity to sit on a (virtual) dais sponsored by the American Bar Association, on endemic opioid use disorder. Ignoring the many bad puns that the sponsoring organization’s name provides, I get to bask in the rays of knowledge of many fine minds and assiduous pathfinders.   Among these will be our own advocacy staff, including but not limited to Kelly Corredor, Susan Awad, Corey Barton; and ASAM member-experts who have been central to the writing of our opioid used disorder (OUD) treatment policy for correctional facilities, as well as policies for those among our membership seeking or needing assistance.  Participating will be Presidents of the ABA, the AMA, the APA, and ASAM.  It’s a pretty remarkable forum.  And it stimulates attention to several websites, including ASAM’s own:

A topic that should be stimulated, and to which we may look forward, is that of physicians who are themselves placed at risk of prosecution while managing substance use disorders, particularly OUDs - a topic that is a throwback of more than 100 years.  Many younger physicians are unaware of the meaning of the buprenorphine “waiver”, referring as it does to a selective waiver of the Harrison Narcotics Act and subsequent controlled substances laws to permit prescription of that medication for management of OUD.


Last week, Dr. Paul Earley, now Immediate Past-President of ASAM, figuratively handed me the gavel.  In assuming ASAM’s Presidency, I am grateful to Dr. Nicholas Athanasiou for his willingness to take on virtually all of the remaining duties in ASAM Weekly, short of buffet and dessert prep; and further adding Member and Vice-Chair, Publications Council to his titles.  I am permitted occasional submission of commentary short of bad Dad jokes, so am not proposing to disappear altogether.

- Emeritus Editor: William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM