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COVER addiction medicine in a way that expands patient access to comprehensive, high-quality addiction care

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ASAM Policy Principles

ASAM believes in a future in which addiction prevention, treatment, remission, and recovery are accessible to all, and where they profoundly improve the health of all people. The following principles guide our advocacy and shape ASAM's advocacy priorities:
  • Addiction policy should be guided by - and promote the use of - the latest science and best practices in addiction prevention, treatment, remission, and recovery.  People with addiction deserve compassionate, evidence-based care that addresses the chronic nature of the disease of addiction.
  • Strategic and multifaceted policy solutions are needed to drive the development of a more accessible, effective, robust, and comprehensive addiction prevention and treatment infrastructure.
  • Policies and payment systems should ensure equitable access to comprehensive, high-quality addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
  • Policy should challenge, rather than enforce, cultural misunderstanding, stigma and discrimination about the disease of addiction.
  • Addiction policy and advocacy should respect and integrate the perspectives of people with addiction and their families.

ASAM Supports the Introduction of Bills Increasing the Legal Age to Buy Tobacco Products to 21

by | Jun 10, 2019


On June 3, ASAM signed on to a letter authored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids expressing support for the Tobacco to 21 Act, introduced by Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), and the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, introduced by Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL). Both bills would increase the legal age for sale of tobacco products to 21 and are designed to be implemented quickly and effectively, without catering to special interests. Given that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 21, and younger children in high school frequently obtain tobacco products from their eighteen-year-old classmates, these bills should help to keep tobacco out of high schools and away from youth.


In contrast to the Tobacco to 21 Act and the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act, the Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens (SCOTT) Act of 2019, introduced by Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL), contains some concerning provisions that would dull the impact of increasing the age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The SCOTT Act would take significantly longer to raise the age for purchase of tobacco products than the other two bills currently under consideration. Furthermore, the bill contains a troublesome definition of “vapor product,” and it does not clearly limit enforcement of the 21 tobacco sale age to retailers and commercial entities. This opens the door to enforcement agencies punishing youth who may be addicted to tobacco products, instead of the retailers and commercial entities that targeted them with marketing and advertisements. 


Read the letter here.