American Society of Addiciton Medicine



A guide for addiction treatment clinicians and programs working to treat patients with substance use disorders safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic1.

For additional recommendations for the Ongoing Management of the Continuum of Addiction Care during COVID-19,  please click here.

Purpose of the document

This document provides guidance to residential addiction treatment programs (ASAM Levels 3.1, 3.3, 3.5 and 3.7), supporting the development and implementation of infection control and mitigation procedures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Although focused on ASAM Level 3 treatment programs with 24-hour clinical staffing, portions of the document may be useful for community congregate living programs such as sober or recovery housing.

As community housing programs respond to the epidemic, it is recommended that they consider the overall considerations for residential treatment programs that are described in this document. As always, when a person living in the community becomes ill, they should seek medical care.

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Updated: 11/13/20

Infection Control and Mitigation Strategies in Residential Treatment Settings

Overview of Considerations for Residential Treatment
Triaging Patients Based on Need for Residential or Inpatient Care
Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms and Risk
Managing Patients who Screen Negative, but COVID-19 is Suspected
Managing Patients who Screen or Test Positive for COVID-19
Facility Policies and Procedures
General Resources

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[1] This resource was developed by a Task Force appointed by ASAM’s Executive Council. To enable more rapid development and dissemination it was not developed through ASAM’s normal process for clinical guidance development that is overseen by the ASAM Quality Improvement Council.




This Clinical Guidance (“Guidance”) is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to provide practical clinical guidance to ad- diction medicine physicians and others caring for individuals with substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds. Adherence to any recommendations included in this Guidance will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. Furthermore, the recommendations contained in this Guidance should not be interpreted as setting a standard of care or be deemed inclusive of all proper methods of care nor exclusive of other methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results.

The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific therapy must be made by the physician and the patient in light of all the circumstances pre- sented by the individual patient, and the known variability and biological behavior of the medical condition.

This Guidance and its conclusions and recommendations reflect the best available information at the time the Guidance was prepared. The results of future studies may require revisions to the recommendations in this Guidance to reflect new data. ASAM does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the Guidance and assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of this Guidance or for any errors or omissions.


If you are a patient or family member or friend in need of immediate assistance:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline
    Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    Call 800-273-8255 or  Chat with Lifeline

About COVID-19 Taskforce Members

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If you have questions related to the guidance in this document or suggestions for additional topics, please email

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