Winter 2023

Newsletter of the California Society of Addiction Medicine

Letter from CSAM’s President:

Sharone Abramowitz, MD, DFASAM

The other day I heard a radio story about college students distributing naloxone on college campuses. I felt both sad and hopeful: sad about the relentless deaths from the opioid crisis, especially among our youth, and hopeful about the activism and humanity of those students committed to saving the lives of their classmates. I also thought about you, our CSAM members, as you do the hard work of helping those struggling with substance use. This activism combined with humanity was what we celebrated with dance and camaraderie at our recent San Diego Addiction Medicine Review Course and Board Exam Preparation Track as CSAM entered its 50th year.

Our society began with doctors standing up against a system that denied them the right to humanely treat others struggling with addictions. CSAM’s history shows how activist doctors with determination and moral conviction can overcome the obstacles of stigma and bias to help a group marginalized by our healthcare system. Each of you are a part of this ongoing story, so if you haven’t yet, I invite you to read our 50th Anniversary History Book, laboriously and lovingly created by a CSAM past president, Monika Koch MD, and our founding executive director, Gail Jara.

I begin my CSAM presidency both inspired by this courageous legacy and humbled to follow in the large footsteps of the committed CSAM leaders who came before me, including our two most recent CSAM past presidents, Karen Miotto, MD and Tony Albanese, MD. I’m also excited to partner with our new president-elect, Dana Harris MD. What an honor it was to start this journey at such an innovative and engaging Review Course chaired by Joy Hao, MD, while once again, Chwen-Yuen Angie Chen, MD led the Board Exam Preparation Track. Besides a great review of our field’s clinical evidence, the plenary included passionate panel discussions--for example, on spirituality and harm reduction--that challenged us to bring heart and a holistic orientation to our clinical approaches. It was wonderful to see our field’s future leaders (who welcome your support: Donate, nurtured at the MERF tables and to have addiction medicine fellows facilitate our unique CSAM tradition of table case discussions. I was especially proud of two CSAM members’ presentations, who have taken their expertise into other terrains: Brian Hurley MD a past co-chair of our Integration and Access to Systems of Care (IASC) Committee and now ASAM’s newest president, and our former board member and author, Anna Lembke MD, whose keynote talk focused on the suffering caused by compulsive digital-based over stimulation of dopamine.

Our conferences’ successes always depend on the hard work of the conference Planning Committee members, Education Committee Chair, Turner Mason MD, and vice-chair, Dana Harris MD, and our CSAM staff, including Kim Andosca ED, Katelyn Peyser associate ED, Felicia Price CMP, and Dena Silva, Dir. of CE, who all deserve a special thanks. Fortunately, if you missed the conference you can still catch it online.

As president-elect, along with a working group and our Board, I was able to facilitate CSAM’s 2023-2026 strategic plan. That plan leads with our revised mission statement and new statement of values, WISE: Whole Health, Inclusiveness, Social Justice, and Emphasize Prevention. To further enact those values and to insure CSAM’s financial health, we also did some reorganization (see image below). For example, our policy committee was renamed Government Affairs, to better reflect its greater mission. We created a Finance Committee that will explore donations from those who have been touched by addiction and recovery and want to pay it forward (if you know people that we could reach out to, please email us at We also combined our communications and membership committees to reflect the synergy between these two functions, and they will work on expanding our social media presence. We created a new Youth and Prevention Committee, while we replaced our Physician Wellness Committee with a more formal affiliation with the California Public Protection and Physician Health Association (CPPPH). Our Opioid, IASC, and Education Committees remain.

We want to continue our march towards more diversity. We have succeeded over the last decade in bringing in more cis-gender women speakers and leaders. However, we have more to accomplish with bringing into our membership and leadership more BIPOC, LGBTQ+, criminal justice, and rural community clinicians. I am forming an Inclusiveness and Social Justice Working Group to come up with ideas to make this happen. We will also explore ways that CSAM can better promote quality addiction medicine in these historically underserved communities.

Finally, I look forward to my journey over the next two years with all of you. Please consider volunteering for our committees. Committee work is a great way to break isolation, to build community with other addiction medicine clinicians, and to make a difference for the next 50 years of CSAM.

Sharone Abramowitz, MD, DFASAM

President, CSAM

(Click Image to View Full Size PDF)

Message from the Conference Committee Chair

By: Farah Zaidi, MD, 2024 State of the Art Conference Committee Chair

On behalf of the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM), I am excited to share some of the early planning highlights of the 2024 CSAM State of the Arts (SOA) Conference in August 2024, taking place in the beautiful city of San Francisco at the spectacular venue Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

I would like to begin by honoring and acknowledging the original people of this vibrant city: We are on the ancestral homeland of Ramaytush Ohlone peoples who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula. We wish to pay our respect to the Ancestors, Elders and Relatives of the Ramaytush Community as the first people of this land. We recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland.

San Francisco Bay Area is the hub of innovation, technology, education, research, science, arts, cultural diversity and so much more. The Bay Area is also home to many prestigious Universities, as well as top notch Residency and Fellowship training...





Purchase your copy of the 50th Anniversary History Book Today for $60.

Buy Your Copy Here!

Supplies are Limited! The History Book is also viewable online HERE.

Government Affairs Update

By: Randolph P Holmes MD, FAAFP, DFASAM, Government Affairs Committee Chair

The legislative session has now concluded here in California and Governor Newsom has either signed or vetoed all bills presented before him. CSAM’s Government Affairs Committee worked diligently to vet and review all the bills relevant to Substance Use Disorders/Addictions care. Two bills CSAM supported were signed into law:

  • SB 326 & AB 351, both authorize a bond initiative to fund improvement of the mental health and SUD treatment system
  • SB 872 authorizes mobile pharmacies to dispense medication for SUD’s

There were several fentanyl bills that were signed (and many that were not). One bill we supported and was signed was:

  • AB 33 will create a fentanyl task force that has a representative of CSAM serving; another bill will create an overdose reporting system...

ASAM’s 2024 Diversity Travel Scholarship

application period is now open!

Last year we received over 45 applications and were able to award ten travel scholarships to individuals identified as a member of an underrepresented group in the medical field to attend ASAM’s 2023 Annual Conference.


We are hoping to count on you to share information about the 2024 Diversity Travel Scholarship in your communities and with colleagues. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2024.

Below please find information that you can easily share:

ASAM’s Diversity Travel Scholarship provides funding to individuals identified as a member of an underrepresented group in the medical field to attend ASAM’s 2024 Annual Conference, April 4-7, 2024 in Dallas Texas.

This scholarship program aims to increase awareness of addiction medicine careers to individuals identified as a member of an underrepresented group in the medical field who would otherwise not be able to attend an ASAM Annual Conference due to financial constraints.

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California Society of Addiction Medicine

One Capitol Mall, Suite 800

Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: (415) 764-4855 | Fax: (916) 444-7462


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