Public Comment Period Opens for Updates to Addiction Treatment Standards

New Edition of "The ASAM Criteria" to be published by Hazelden Publishing
Learn About Hazelden Betty Ford

Rockville, Md. and Center City, Minn. (Oct. 3, 2022) – A book of standards at the center of America's addiction treatment ecosystem will soon be updated and enhanced to facilitate better care for the millions of people diagnosed with substance use disorders each year.

Utilized by care providers, insurers, educators, and others, The ASAM Criteria® is the most comprehensive and widely used set of national standards for conducting a comprehensive multidimensional assessment and determining the appropriate level of care for patients with addiction. It was first developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) in the 1980s to define one national set of criteria for providing outcome-oriented and results-based care in the treatment of addiction.

The first volume of the new 4th edition—to be published and distributed by Hazelden Publishing, a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation—will be updated by ASAM to reflect current research and clinical best practices, and to include a companion multimedia digital product that will support education and more widespread implementation. The draft standards —developed following a previous public comment period on the proposed framework—were posted today on ASAM's website for public input. Feedback will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 11, with the final publication slated for fall 2023.

"As states across the country work to improve their addiction treatment systems, they are rapidly adopting The ASAM Criteria," said R. Corey Waller, MD, MS, FACEP, DFASAM, Editor-in-Chief of the 4th edition of The ASAM Criteria. "For our part, it is imperative to keep these standards updated to reflect the latest research and best clinical practices. We at ASAM are excited to partner with Hazelden Betty Ford to support dissemination of the newest edition of The ASAM Criteria, with a strong focus on supporting effective implementation and practical application throughout the addiction treatment ecosystem."

The standards in The ASAM Criteria help ensure that patients get objective evaluations and care recommendations and that service capabilities are consistent across treatment programs that provide a specific level of care. They are the foundation of addiction treatment improvement efforts across the country and are especially significant given the U.S. is facing an unprecedented overdose and addiction crisis that began two decades ago and worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to making updates related to research and best practices, ASAM and Hazelden Publishing are focused on simplifying how information is presented and incorporating just-in-time learning modules and multimedia content to support education and training.

"The digital companion to The ASAM Criteria will help with real-world implementation and adoption, a vital part of disseminating best practices and ensuring every patient gets care appropriate to their needs," said Joseph Lee, MD, president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. "We are honored and excited to collaborate with ASAM to publish the next generation of these standards that are so essential to our field and to patients and families across the country."

The 4th edition of The ASAM Criteria will be released in four volumes. The first, to be published in fall 2023, will focus on adults with substance use disorder. Subsequent volumes will focus on adolescents and transition-age youth, addiction treatment within jails and prisons, and treatment of behavioral addictions (i.e., gambling, internet, and gaming addiction).

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. 

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.