ASAM supports a wide variety of measures to prevent and research substance-related problems.

Other Addiction Policy Areas

ASAM is committed to increasing access to and improving the quality of evidence-based addiction prevention services. ASAM supports a wide variety of measures to prevent substance-related problems, understanding that carefully planned prevention measures can reduce the initiation of substance use. Additionally, ASAM advocates for a robust research agenda informed by patient experience and clinical needs. Specific research priorities include effective prevention programs and pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for addiction and improved medical treatments for stimulant use disorder.

Advocacy Action

ASAM Launches New Training Module for Treating Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergency Department; New Report on Legal Risks to Hospital EDs Underscores Need for Education

July 20, 2021

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Hospital emergency departments that fail to adopt evidence-based practices for SUD can violate certain federal laws, according to new report from Legal Action Center


Rockville, MD - The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) today launched a new online training module for prescribers in the emergency department (ED) seeking to initiate buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). Through interactive and application-focused learning, the OUD Mini-Course:  Treatment in the Emergency Department training module will provide essential education to empower prescribers in EDs to better identify, manage, and respond to patients with OUD.


ASAM’s new training module was officially launched the same day the Legal Action Center (LAC) released its new report, “EMERGENCY: Hospitals are Violating Federal Law by Denying Required Care for Substance Use Disorders in Emergency Departments.”  The report warns that failure by hospital EDs to adopt evidence-based practices for patients with substance use disorder (SUD) can violate federal laws that require EDs to provide certain medical services and prohibit discrimination based on disability, race, and ethnicity.


“The new report from the Legal Action Center outlines what many healthcare professionals,  patients, and families already knew: the failure of some hospital emergency departments to adopt evidence-based practices for individuals with a substance use disorder is dangerous for patients, creates frustrating roadblocks to care, and exacerbates disparities,” said William Haning, MD, DLFAPA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “With drug overdose deaths surging to an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical for frontline hospital clinicians to understand how to screen for and diagnose substance use disorder and follow well-validated practices. ASAM is proud to help meet this need by offering essential education about identifying, managing, and responding to patients with opioid use disorder in the emergency department setting.”


To date, many hospitals have adopted evidence-based practices for treating patients with SUD in the ED setting, including screening for SUD and diagnosing it, offering to administer opioid agonist medications to patients with OUD (as appropriate), and facilitating referrals to ongoing care. According to the LAC report, however, far too many EDs only address the acute symptoms of substance use, and as a result, may be violating federal laws that require medical screening and stabilization, as well as laws that prohibit disability- and race-based discrimination.


The OUD Mini-Course:  Treatment in the Emergency Department training module is now available online and can be accessed through ASAM’s e-Learning Center. ASAM will provide CME credit upon completion of the training module.


Media Contact:

Rebecca Reid 410-212-3843 

National Initiatives

H.R. 2503 - Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021

ASAM supports the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021, which would create an inter-agency technical advisory council on social determinants of health (SDOH) to help overcome barriers to coordinating services across sectors and a new federal grant program to assist state, local, and Tribal governments in tackling persistent economic and social conditions that impact the prevention and treatment of chronic medical conditions, including addiction. Read more

S. 253 - Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act

ASAM supports the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act, which would work to ensure that research on CBD and other potentially beneficial marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science while simultaneously reducing the regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana. Read more.

H.R. 2185 - Quit Because of COVID-19 Act

ASAM endorsed the Quit Because of COVID-19 Act which would ensure that all Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees have access to the full array of evidence-based tobacco cessation treatments.  Specifically, the bill would extend comprehensive tobacco cessation to all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries, eliminate cost sharing and prior authorization requirements, and would provide enhanced federal funding to cover the full cost of state outreach campaigns to education providers and Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries about the benefit.  Read more.

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