ASAM a Partner in Education Efforts Outside Med-Sci

ASAM is involved in three ongoing education programs with other entities outside the Med-Sci Conference. The REMS course educates clinical providers about the use of opioids; the Review Course in Addiction Medicine is a primer for physicians and health care professionals about addiction medicine; and PCSS-MAT educates and mentors health care providers treating opioid use disorders.

REMS Course

ASAM has updated the REMS course to educate clinical providers about the use of extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids, and will continue to present the course around the country and online.

REMS, the acronym for Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, is linked to the REMS Program Companies consortium organized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The consortium is funded by manufacturers of ER/LA opioid medications to develop patient and prescriber education materials to reduce risks related to the medications. However, the content of the REMS course is controlled by the FDA.

R. Corey Waller, MD, MS, ABAM Diplomate, a Co-Director of the REMS course, said it has been updated to include new information about medications and concerns about the presentation of the course’s chapter on addiction.

“It was mandated by the government to make sure the physicians are appropriately educated on how to prescribe, especially given the recent, consistent, and alarming rise in accidental opioid overdose,” said Dr. Waller, Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The positive feedback we have received is that this helps them to nail down some very specific clinical concepts of use and understand how to appropriately document and create a safe environment for prescribing use.”

The REMS course is presented by ASAM with its local chapters or organizations, as well as at national courses. To learn about course presentations, go to the “Education” tab on the ASAM website. The course also is available online at the ASAM e-Live Learning Center.

“Why are addiction doctors training other people how to write for medicines we get people off of?” Dr. Waller asked. “If we want to own the conversation and help everyone understand the safest ways to use these so we are not needed as much, then it is important for us to be teaching rather than just treating the aftermath.”

Review Course in Addiction Medicine

The 2014 Review Course in Addiction Medicine, a primer for physicians and other health care professionals preparing for a career in addiction medicine, will be presented September 18-20 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel, Orlando, Florida. To register for the course, go to the “Education” tab on the ASAM website.

More than 500 professionals are expected to enroll in the course, which reviews the core content of addiction medicine. The course has been developed for physicians preparing for the ABAM Certification/Recertification Examination in Addiction Medicine, addiction specialists wanting an update on recent developments in addition science and practice, and non-specialist physicians and health care professionals wanting to learn more about identifying and managing issues related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.

“On the first day, we will talk about the fundamentals of addiction medicine, going through the different types of drugs of abuse,” said Petros Levounis, MD, MA, FASAM, the Course Director. “The second day we will go through the assessment and treatments for different addictions. The third day, we will talk about special topics and populations, such as pregnancy, ethics, and public policy.”

The course also offers the Board Examination Study Tool (BEST), an Internet-based learning tool that includes study material and competency test questions. Attendees can use BEST through mobile devices and tablets so they can bookmark pages, highlight text, and take notes.

“This year, the curriculum has been streamlined, and the course offers more networking options,” Dr. Levounis said.

“We are giving participants an evening off to be able to have dinner, for a change,” he said. “We will have longer breaks, giving people the opportunity to network and meet the faculty. This year, the course is radically reformulated in that it is much more streamlined. It will have a flow to it, starting from neurobiology of addiction to public health and ethics. We hope to go through the material in a much more systematic and organized fashion, which will make for a better educational experience.”


ASAM is a partner in a SAMHSA-funded program, PCSS-MAT, developed to educate and mentor health care providers treating opioid use disorders. PCSS-MAT is the acronym for Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication-Assisted Treatment.

PCSS was developed when buprenorphine was introduced, and PCSS-MAT was developed later to mentor providers about the use of all three medications available for treating opioid use disorders—buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone, said Daniel P. Alford, MD, MPH, FASAM, ABAM Diplomate, the ASAM PCSS-MAT Clinical Director.

The program is a collaborative effort led by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) in partnership with ASAM, the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA).

“ASAM’s scope of work for PCSS-MAT includes creating case-based educational modules and identifying mentors within ASAM to do MAT mentoring,” said Dr. Alford, Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr Alford and Edwin A. Salsitz, MD, FASAM, Beth Israel Medical Center, led a Component Session Thursday night to discuss ASAM’s role in PCSS-MAT. Dr. Salsitz is the ASAM PCSS-MAT Lead Mentor.

“The session covered the scope of work for ASAM, the background on the education modules we will create, ASAM’s role in the mentoring program, and a general discussion to get ideas on other education modules from ASAM’s perspective so we can give feedback to AAAP,” he said.

To learn more about the program, visit