American Society of Addiciton Medicine
Oct 2, 2023 Reporting from Rockville, MD
ASAM Releases Public Policy Statement on Prevention
Oct 2, 2023

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American Society of Addictin Medicine


ASAM Releases Public Policy Statement on Prevention


October 2, 2023


In recognition of the SAMHSA’s October Prevention Month, ASAM recommends at a minimum, the federal government should adjust prevention funding for inflation, and ensure the adaptability of programming to local substance use trends  


Rockville, MD – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) today released a “ Public Policy Statement on Prevention” in recognition of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Youth Substance Use Prevention Month and Substance Misuse Prevention Month, with twenty-two specific recommendations to advance the reach of evidence-based prevention initiatives. The statement highlights four areas of prevention: general prevention measures, neglected opportunities within the healthcare system, substance specific measures, and the future of prevention. 

“The lessons the nation is learning from the past decades underscore the urgent need to fund and deploy validated  prevention measures in medical and community-based settings,” said Brian Hurley, MD, MBA, FAPA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “The challenge to governments is to substantially support research that moves us closer to resolving  longstanding uncertainties,” he added. “The federal government should increase funding for prevention science research, including research that addresses the influence of social adversity and structural inequality on behavioral risk for substance misuse and substance use disorder (SUD), including the longitudinal effects of traumatic stress,” Dr. Hurley concluded. 

The statement calls attention to the science of prevention that has identified risk and protective factors that shape the presence of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments that are, in turn, powerful potential safeguards against the initiation and progression of substance use. ASAM recommends states should provide communities with assessment and capacity-building tools to prioritize risk and protective factors systematically, and target such factors with selected implementation of evidence-based prevention programs

Given the historical emphasis on school-based prevention, ASAM says states should require proven prevention programming for all students in publicly funded school districts and postsecondary institutions, which meets quality, impact, specificity, and dissemination readiness criteria. ASAM also says states should refrain from implementing, or repeal, exclusionary school laws or policies that suspend students or refer them to the legal system for substance use-related infractions, which are still commonplace, but lack evidence, and may lead to more criminal offenses

Harmful use of alcohol is the nation’s fourth leading cause of preventable death, and while the unregulated drug addiction and overdose crisis rightfully has captured the attention of the nation, Dr. Hurley said, “it is of concern that alcohol has become more affordable since its federal excise tax was last set in 1991, and some options for increasing the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages could bring in almost $115 billion in federal revenue over the next ten years." He added, “ASAM recommends such revenue be used for the treatment of addiction, which continues to remain underfunded.”   

ASAM’s statement also has recommendations specific to the opioid crisis, including: 

“The US is experiencing the worst overdose crisis in its history,” said Dr. Hurley. “While the nation’s current approach to substance use prevention has value, it also has fundamental weaknesses, including its constraint by commercial influence and the need to demonstrate visible policy impacts in the short-term. Without delay, governments should swiftly adopt and implement evidence-based prevention policies and programs at scale.” 



About the American Society of Addiction Medicine   

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), founded in 1954, is a professional medical society representing over 7,000 physicians, clinicians, and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction. For more information, visit  


Media Contact:

Rebecca Reid