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.

Education

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

BSc, MD, FRCPC , FCPA
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

CSAM-SMCA is a national organization focused on improving education and understanding of addiction medicine. We were founded as an organization for physicians. In 2022, we now welcome all regulated health professionals as Voting Members. Addiction medicine is practiced by health professionals in many disciplines, each contributing to the care and recovery of patients, often in collaborative teams. We are pleased to expand our membership to better reflect the practice of addiction medicine in Canada in the 21st century. If you are not a member, I sincerely hope you will consider joining us.

I did not expect to become the first Zoom president when I was nominated for this position at the Board of Directors’ meeting in Vancouver in 2018.  The pandemic has affected all of us, and profoundly impacted the world of addictions. We have changed how we deliver clinical care, with many of us participating in virtual care for the first time with the onset of the pandemic. 

We have worried about changes in the supply and composition of drugs available on the street, and reduced access to treatments and support, putting people who use drugs at increased risk of suffering and death.  The double epidemic of opioid use and the pandemic has increased the already high death rate in this population. With data emerging that use of substances has increased in the pandemic, we know that the need for addiction care and treatment will continue to exceed what can be provided. 

I am honoured to be the President of CSAM-SMCA.  I often reflect on our Vision Statement, “Hope and dignity for all touched by addiction” to guide my priorities.  For 2022 we will focus on inviting all regulated health professionals in addiction medicine to become Voting Members, redeveloping our CSAM-SMCA Grant Program, continuing to expand our educational offerings, and encouraging new ways to network and collaborate. 

In 2022 we hope to develop education and resources of particular interest to members of regulated health professions who join CSAM-SMCA. Education in addiction medicine for many health professionals is very limited during university and college programs, and we hope to expand or augment training to improve the care and treatment of people with substance use disorders and process addictions.

We will have a conference in the fall of 2022, whether it is virtual, in person or a hybrid. It is difficult to stay connected in the midst of a pandemic. As a national organization, CSAM-SMCA will endeavour to offer opportunities for education, networking and innovation in addiction medicine in Canada. Join us!

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.

History

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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