American Society of Addiciton Medicine

ASAM History Book

About ASAM

ASAM History Book

The first published account of the history of ASAM. Our history is told through the lived experiences and voice of many, and the contributions along the collective pathway to Treat Addiction Save Lives.

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Milestones in ASAM’s History




  • 1954: NYCMSA dated its founding, and held its first educational conference at the New York Academy of Medicine. This occurred after to its first gathering, and the adopting of its first constitution and bylaws.
  • 1956: AMA passes a strong resolution stating that alcoholism was a disease.
  • 1957: The National Committee on Alcoholism changes its name to National Council on Alcoholism (NCA).
  • 1957: Ruth Fox, MD becomes the first president of the NCA.
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  • 1965: The Physician's Alcohol Newsletter (PAN), first published and edited by Frank Seixas, MD
  • 1967: The NCA, approaching 100 members, changed its name to the American Medical Society on Alcoholism (AMSA) and resolved to “henceforth be a national organization.”
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  • 1970: First annual meeting of the newly formed American Medical Society on Alcoholism (AMSA).
  • 1970: First Annual Medical Scientific Conference
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  • 1983: The first certification is offered by the California Society for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies.
  • 1985: Membership reaches 1,400.
  • 1988: ASAM is accepted into membership in the AMA House of Delegates.
  • 1989: AMSAODD was renamed to become the current American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
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  • 1991: ASAM debuted perhaps one of the most significant documents regarding best-care practices in addiction medicine offered at that time: the Patient Placement Criteria (ASAM Criteria).
  • 1993: ASAM became involved with health care reform efforts initiated under President Bill Clinton, recognizing the opportunity to prioritize addiction treatment
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  • 2003: ASAM has certified 3,500+ physicians, 34 chartered chapters, membership of 3,200.
  • 2007: ASAM encourages and assists the establishment of American Board of Addiction Medicine and The ABAM Foundation
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  • 2016: the American Board of Medical Specialties publicly recognized the “multi-specialty subspecialty of addiction medicine, this marked the attainment of one of ASAM’s most dearly held goals.
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  • 2021: ASAM Board of Directors adopts ASAM’s public policy statement on advancing racial justice in addiction medicine.
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