What We Do

The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine is a national society of medical professionals and scientists committed to helping Canadians understand, accept, and recover from substance use disorders.


We work to educate health professionals, government leaders, and everyday Canadians about the prevention, assessment, and treatment of substance use disorders in our communities. To this end, we host courses and conferences, encourage and publish Canadian research, and produce definitions and policy statements that support understanding and progress.

What We Do — Education
What We Do — Clinical Standards and Certification

Clinical Standards and Certification

CSAM-SMCA participates in the writing of guidelines and standards and is planning on developing a repository of current guidelines for member and public access. Since 2000, CSAM-SMCA has awarded the status of Certificant of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CCSAM) designation to qualified individuals. As of October 2019, 122 physicians have received the CCSAM designation.
What We Do — Clinical Standards and Certification

Clinical Standards and Certification

CSAM-SMCA participates in the writing of guidelines and standards and is planning to develop a repository of current guidelines for member and public access. Since 2000, CSAM-SMCA has awarded the status of Certificant of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CCSAM) designation to qualified individuals. As of October 2019, 122 physicians have received the CCSAM designation.

Collaboration and Networking

CSAM-SMCA members form a strong, diverse community of Canadian professionals who support and care for the people in our communities who have substance use disorders.

CSAM Collaboration and Networking

Who We Are

Jennifer Brasch

President – Term: 2020-2022

David Martell

David Martell

BSc, MD, CCFP (AM), FCFP, CSAM (Certificant), ISAM (Certification)
President Elect – Term: 2020-2022

Melanie Willows

Melanie Willows

MD, CCFP, CSAM (Certificant), ABAM (Diplomate)
Past-President – Term: 2020-2022

A Message From President Jennifer Brasch

Jennifer Brasch

Addiction is our Malady of Modern Life.  From online gambling, to food engineered for maximum appeal, to hours spent playing video games, to legal cannabis stores, to increasingly toxic illicit opioids in our communities, our society enables us to partake of habit-forming activities and substances with greater and greater ease, but greater and greater cost.   As access to addictive substances and activities become increasingly available, there is growing concern about the impact of the easy access on all of us.  Substance Use Disorders are now more common than common mental health disorders, with a lifetime prevalence of 22% for substance use disorders, 9% for anxiety disorders and 14% for mood disorders. Addictions may be a factor in at least 8 of the top 10 causes of mortality in Canada. These numbers speak to the relevance of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine—(French equ) as an increasingly important organization in Canada.  Our recently adopted vision statement, “Hope and dignity for all touched by addiction” reflects our awareness of the complexity of addiction as a concerning health issue for an individual, the adverse consequences for a family, and the negative impacts of addiction at a societal level.  

This year COVID-19 has had a profound aspect on many aspects of addictions, including increased substance use to cope with the stresses of isolation, alterations in the illicit drug supply, and challenges to delivering care during a pandemic.  CSAM-SMCA is using our networks and platforms to share information for health care professionals about addiction care during a pandemic.  Our strategic directions speak to the importance of education in addiction medicine, promoting and disseminating best practices, encouraging dialogue and consensus building and advocating for meaningful change.   Our annual conference is a major educational event in Canada for all health care professionals interested in addiction treatments and care and our 2020 conference featured many sessions on addictions and COCID-19.  As president, it is my plan to use all of our strategic directions to guide our work and identify new projects.  We want to bring together Canadian researchers in substance use disorders and process addictions in all fields, to disseminate their research findings and encourage collaboration.  We will make changes to our committees and implement new programs to contribute to addiction care across the country.  

I look forwards to working with the members of the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs and appreciate the time and effort they contribute to CSAM-SMCA.  I thank the Editorial Board and all the reviewers of the Canadian Journal of Addiction for their contributions to this important journal.  I am especially grateful to Melanie Willows, Past-President, and Paul Sobey, Past-Past President, for their tireless efforts to advance CSAM-SMCA.  I know I can count on Paul and Melanie, all members of the BOD and the network of health care professionals in addictions that comprise CSAM-SMCA to support me as president. It is both an honour and a priviledge to serve you as CSAM-SMCA President.

A Message From Immediate Past-President Melanie Willows

Melanie Willows

It has been an honour to serve as the President of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine – La société médicale canadienne sur l’addiction. (CSAM-SMCA) for my 2018-2020 term. I look forward to continuing to serve as Past President for my 2020-2022 term.

I would like to commend the commitment of CSAM-SMCA’s members who generously volunteer their time on the Board of Directors, Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Addiction (CJA), contribute to our annual conference and educational activities and our other various committees, supporting our mission to advance the understanding and treatment of substance-related and behavioural addictions.

Throughout 2019, the comprehensive review committee together with our board of directors and our members developed and refined our vision, mission and strategic directions to guide CSAM-SMCA over the next 5 years.

CSAM-SMCA’s Vision: hope and dignity for all touched by addictions.

We hope you, our members, will help us move closer to this vision as we work on our strategic directions that include: Educating Health Professionals, Promoting and Disseminating Best Practices, Convening Tables for Dialogue and Consensus Building, and Advocating for Meaningful Change.

During my presidency, CSAM-SMCA grieved the loss of our previous administrative assistant Karen Mellor. We will be recognizing Karen’s memory by establishing a Karen Mellor Bursary. We will be forever grateful to Marilyn Dorozio our former administrative assistant who stepped in and guided us during Karen’s illness in addition to providing training and mentorship to our new administrative assistant Becca Hebert.

As we all know, change is challenging. However, with challenge comes opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a situation where we have all had to pivot what we do and how we do it. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSAM-SMCA had the opportunity to host our first virtual conference in 2020. This was a joint conference with the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) with multi-track sessions, plenary speakers, electronic poster sessions, networking opportunities and more. I hope you had the opportunity to attend the conference.

Finally, as a member, board member and president and now past president, CSAM-SMCA has provided me with a network of diverse colleagues across Canada that has been invaluable in my clinical and academic work in addition to providing an opportunity to help direct the future of addiction medicine. I would like to thank you for being a member and your ongoing contributions to CSAM-SMCA.


The Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine was founded in 1989 by a group of physicians, scientists, and researchers who saw a need for a professional association that would represent the medical profession in the area of substance use disorders. Originally called the Canadian Medical Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs, it has evolved into a national organization of medical professionals, allied health workers, and scientists who are committed to helping Canadians understand, endure, and overcome substance use disorders.

1989 – 1991:
Dr. Jim Rankin of Toronto, ON
1991 – 1993:
Dr. Juan Negrete of Montreal, QC
1993 – 1995:
Dr. Bill Jacyk of Winnipeg, MB
1995 – 1997:
Dr. Nady el-Guebaly of Calgary, AB
1997 – 2000:
Dr. Raju Hajela of Kingston, ON
2000 – 2002:
Dr. Bill Campbell of Calgary, AB
2002 – 2004:
Dr. Peter Mezciems of Guelph, ON
2004 – 2006:
Dr. David Marsh of Vancouver, BC
2006 – 2008:
Dr. Frank Evans of Toronto, ON
2008 – 2010:
Dr. Don Ling of Charlottetown, PEI
2010 – 2013:
Dr. Brian Fern of Saskatoon, SK
2013 – 2015:
Dr. Ron Lim of Calgary, AB
2015 – 2018:
Dr. Paul Sobey of New Westminster, BC
2018 – 2020:
Dr. Melanie Willows of Ottawa, ON
2020 – 2022:

Dr. Jennifer Brasch of Hamilton, ON

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