“The Public Policy Committee works in close collaboration with the Research, Treatment and Education Sections of AAAP to promote excellence of clinical practice in Addiction Psychiatry, to educate the public regarding substance use disorders, to promote accessibility and quality of treatment for all patients, and to support research in the field. Further, the Public Policy Section supports the Board of Directors in their deliberations regarding AAAP positions on legal cases and legislative initiatives pertinent to substance use disorders and addiction psychiatry.”

—Richard N. Rosenthal, MD, Section Head Chair; Hilary S. Connery, MD, PhD, Co-Chair and Justine Welsh, MD, Early Career Co-Chair

Position Statements


November 18, 2019
AAAP joins The American Medical Association in supporting a broad public health recommendation to cease using all vaping devices until further state and federal investigations determine causality and can advise on which, if any, vaping devices may be considered safe for use by the public.
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Proposed Model State Cannabis Laws to Reduce Harms

October 3, 2019
AAAP encourages states to consider the following, well-established and widely-reproduced findings in the scientific literature regarding cannabis and mental health.
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The Ability of Physicians to Practice Medicine with a Diagnosis of an Illness and/or a Restricted License

July 2, 2018
Physicians who are able to practice medicine with requisite skill and safety to patients should not be excluded from medical activities solely because of medical licenses that have been restricted due to some aspect of physical or mental illness (including addiction disorders). Decisions as to whether such physicians should be permitted to practice specific areas of medicine should be made on a case by case basis.
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Clean Needle and Syringe

July 19, 2018
Supports the funding and development of programs that assist people, who are injecting drug users, to have increased access to clean needles and syringes in order to help them eliminate all reusing and sharing of needle syringes.
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Confidentiality of Patient Records and Protections Against Discrimination

July 19, 2018 A detailed set of guidelines regarding disclosure and privacy of addiction patients. Specific reference to the careful use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). View full Policy

Co-occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Policy

July 2, 2018 Suggests system of care for treatment of co-occurring psychiatric and SUD patients. Main principles include: welcoming, accessibility, integration, continuity, and comprehensiveness. View full Policy

Criminal Justice System and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Policy

July 19, 2018 Advocates for treatment of psychiatric problems (including addiction) to those patients within the criminal justice system. Seeks to provide appropriate medical treatment as a cost-effective and humane alternative to incarceration alone. View full Policy

Funding Conflicts of Interest

July 2, 2018 A revised set of guidelines concerning financial decisions as a conflict of interest; written to the norms of the PHS and NSF. View full Policy

Legalization of Drugs

July 19, 2018 Statement against the legalization of currently illicit drugs, though in favor of maximizing treatment and prevention efforts that do not stigmatize addicted patients, and significantly reduce crime. View full Policy

Medical Use of Marijuana

July 19, 2018 Cannabinoids are of great interest, and some medical cannabinoids are of demonstrated benefit in treating nausea/vomiting during cancer chemotherapy, improving appetite in wasting diseases such as AIDS, reducing seizure burden in childhood epilepsy, and reducing spasticity in multiple sclerosis. View full Policy

Nicotine Dependence

July 19, 2018 Promotes the development of policies and programs which promote prevention, treatment, and research activities in the area of nicotine dependence. View full Policy

Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution

July 19, 2018
There has been a significant increase in mortality from prescription drug overdoses over the past 20 years in the U.S.
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Organ Transplantation

July 2, 2018 Asks to remove stigma of substance abuse from eligibility of organ transplantation. The evaluation of a patient’s candidacy for organ transplantation should be made on clinical grounds alone. The choice should be based on clinical criteria with the specifics of each case taken into consideration. View full Policy

Relationship Between Treatment and Self Help

July 2, 2018 Distinguishes the benefits of self-help and medical assistance; recognizes self-help methods as valuable community tools while asserting that patients with addictions or SUDs require help from qualified professionals. View full Policy

Use of Illegal Substances by Pregnant Women

July 2, 2018 Supports the voluntary screening and testing of pregnant women for substance use disorders and mental illness for the purpose of providing prenatal care and treatment services to the mother and unborn child; opposes legislation or policies that require mandatory reporting of illegal substance use by pregnant women. View full Policy

Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic, Non-malignant Pain

July 19, 2018 Specific recommendations and guidelines for responsible practice in the prescription of opioids for chronic, non- malignant pain. View full Policy

Advocacy Statements

Medicaid Reentry Act sign-on letter

August 12, 2020
AAAP signed on to letter to Congressional leadership, asking that they include the Medicaid Reentry Act in the next legislative COVID-19 package.

NAIC sign-on letter

August 3, 2020
AAAP signed on to letter to support work of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) Working Group of the National Association of Insurance. Commissioners (NAIC).
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HHS sign-on letter: Behavioral Health Care Provider Distribution

June 16, 2020
AAAP signed on to Behavioral Health Care Provider Distribution letter.
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IMG HB1 Visa letter

May 4, 2020
AAAP signed on to letter to Acting Director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Kenneth Cuccinelli requesting to temporarily extend visas automatically for one year.
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Amicus brief, California v Becker (Kings County, CA)

April 13, 2020
AAAP signed on to amicus brief in the case of The State of California v. Chelsea Cheyenne Becker.

Opioid Litigation Brief

April 13, 2020
AAAP supports American Psychiatric Association breif.

Emergency Funding for Behavioral Health Organizations During the COVID-19 Crisis

April 7, 2020
AAAP signed on to letter with a request to provide $38.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for direct payments to behavioral health organizations to ensure they can remain open and operating during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Physician Sign-on Letter to SAMSHA Re OTP's and Telehealth

April 3, 2020
AAAP signed on to letter to AMASHA regarding OTP's and Telehealth.

Mental Health Policies in Future COVID-19 Supplemental

March 20, 2020
AAAP signed on to Mental Health Policies in Future COVID-19 Supplemental letter. View full Policy

AAAP signed on to support FY 2021 Funding Recommendation for HRSA Titles VII and VIII Programs

March 10, 2020
AAAP signed on to support the proposed funding for ONDCP and other comprehensive efforts surrounding the epidemic response.

FY 2021 Funding Recommendation for HRSA Titles VII and VIII Programs

February 26, 2020
AAAP signed on to support FY 2021 Funding Recommendation for HRSA Titles VII and VIII Programs.

Ad Hoc FY 2021 NIH Funding Recommendation

January 30, 2020
AAAP signed on to support Ad Hoc FY 2021 NIH Funding Recommendation.

Amicus Brief in the case of State of Oklahoma v. Kathryn Green

November 18, 2019
AAAP supports NAPW's amicus brief in the case of State of Oklahoma v. Kathryn Green.

FY2020 NIH Funding

October 24, 2019
AAAP signed on to AAMC's and Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter to House and Senate.
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Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (H.R. 3414)

September 25, 2019
AAAP signs on to letter supporting the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (S.2892).

NAPW's Amicus Brief (United States v. Flute)

August 20, 2019
AAAP supports NAPW's amicus brief in the case of United States v. Flute.

CEPOP FY20 Senate Appropriations request sign on letter

July 31, 2019
AAAP signed on to CEPOP FY2020 Appropriations Letter to the U.S. Senate.
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Friends of NIDA - Medical Marijuana Research Act Endorsement

July 10, 2019
AAAP strongly endorses the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019.
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NAPW's Open Letter to Judge Wendy Wexler Horn

June 17, 2019
AAAP signed on to NAPW’s open letter to the judge Wendy Wexler Horn, asking for leniency in Ms. Roberta Baker’s sentencing.
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CARE Act of 2019 Endorsement

May 6, 2019
AAAP endorses the Care Act of 2019.
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PA medical Marijuana Advisory Board Petition

May 1, 2019
AAAP signed on to a petition to the PA Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to remove the OUD indication.
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National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) Open Letter in Support of Ms. Roberta Baker

April 23, 2019 AAAP signed on to NAPW's open letter to the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney asking her to drop the charges against Ms. Roberta Baker. View full Policy

GME Sign-On Letter

March 29, 2019 AAAP signed on to letter encouraging Members of Congress to cosponsor "The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019” (S. 348, H.R. 1763). View full Policy

CEPOP Coalition Letter to Save ONDCP

March 15, 2019 AAAP signed on to CEPOP Coalition Letter to Save ONDC. View full Policy

Statements by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry are not intended to serve as a standard of medical care or treatment, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of individual AAAP members. These statements are not intended for use in making judgments about appropriate methods of care, treatment, or procedures, medical malpractice, disability determination, competency, or any other medical or legal matters. This website provides content associated with the work of Public Policy committee and approved by the Board of Directors.