Drug overdoses are the current leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., having surpassed traffic fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 63,632 lethal drug overdoses in 2016. Of these, 19,413 were related to synthetic opioids and 15,469 were related to heroin. Opioid misuse, addiction and related overdose deaths have become a public health epidemic in our country, but treatment works and can help people reach long-term recovery. Evidence shows that medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone, used in combination with psychosocial interventions are effective in treating opioid addiction. To address this public health crisis, ASAM advocates at the federal and state level for:

  1. Increased access to opioid addiction treatment,
  2. Mandatory education for physicians and other clinicians who prescribe controlled substances, 
  3. The use of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to identify patients at risk for opioid addiction and connect them to treatment, and 
  4. Increased access to naloxone, which can stop and reverse an opioid overdose.


President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law on July 22, 2016. CARA is a sweeping bill that came together over the course of several years with input from hundreds of addiction advocates. Its provisions address the full continuum of care from primary prevention to recovery support, including significant changes to expand access to addiction treatment services and overdose reversal medications. It also includes criminal justice and law enforcement-related provisions. Below are some resources that will help members and the public understand this new law. 

Legislative Tracking Tool

ASAM Advocacy

  • March 19, 2018

    ASAM Response to Administration Initiative

    Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his Initiative to Stop Opioids Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand to address the opioid crisis in the United States. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has long called for a comprehensive federal plan to address our current crisis of opioid addiction and overdose, and is pleased the Administration is now devoting the time and attention necessary to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic.  Drug overdoses have surpassed traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. for some time, and concerted and meaningful action to reduce overdose deaths is long overdue.
  • February 5, 2018

    Telemedicine and Addiction Medicine

    Patients struggling with opioid addiction often live in rural areas where there are few to no providers who can prescribe medications that are controlled substances as part of a treatment plan to treat addiction. The growth in the use of telemedicine represents a remarkable opportunity to use new technologies to care for those who lack access to transportation or endure other geographical barriers.
  • January 19, 2018

    Leading Experts in Women’s Health Care, Pediatrics & Addiction Medicine: “Pregnant Women with Substance Use Disorders Need Health Care, Not Incarceration”

    Washington, DC – ACOG, AAP, ASAM, March of Dimes and NOFAS released a statement in response to the policy instituted by the Big Horn County Attorney’s Office in Montana to prosecute and incarcerate pregnant women for drug/alcohol use.
  • January 8, 2018

    ASAM Welcomes CDC Letter Clarifying Dosage Thresholds

    Several weeks ago, ASAM contacted the CDC to discuss the persistence of misunderstandings surrounding dosage thresholds in the CDC Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – 2016 (Guideline) and addiction medicine.
  • December 6, 2017

    ASAM Applauds FDA's Approval of New Monthly Injectable Buprenorphine Formulation

    On December 30, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Sublocade, a monthly formulation of buprenorphine subcutaneous injection for treatment of opioid dependence. This injection is the first monthly formulation of buprenorphine to be approved by the FDA.