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 outpatient addiction treatment clinicians and programs (ASAM Levels 0.5, 1, 2.1, 2.5, OTP and OTS) when developing infection control procedures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the risks associated with COVID-19, the current crisis has increased risks associated with substance use and substance use disorder – due to the anxiety, social isolation, and stress associated with the pandemic and its response. It is critical that addiction treatment services remain accessible throughout this crisis. Treatment programs should focus on infection control and mitigation within the facility and strategies for providing remote treatment services where possible.

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Updated: 9/18/20


  1. Protect patients and staff from coronavirus infection.
  2. Maintain access to addiction treatment services.
  3. Maintain a therapeutic environment for patients with SUDs.


  1. Acuity of SUD treatment needs.
  2. Medical risk if infected with Covid-19 virus.
  3. Likelihood of spreading Covid-19 virus to other persons.

Note: This guidance does not supersede any regulations, emergency proclamations, or directions from local, state and federal officials.

Infection Control and Mitigation Strategies in Outpatient Settings

Screening for COVID 19 Risk
Managing Patients Who Screen or Test Positive for COVID-19
Waiting Room Precautions
Protecting and Monitoring Staff
Considerations for New Intakes
Considerations for Non-Urgent Appointments

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1This resource was developed by a Task Force appointed by ASAM’s Executive Council. To enable more rapid development and dissem- ination 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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