ASAM’s criteria is the most comprehensive set of guidelines for assessment, service planning and placement in addiction treatment. It provides a common language for not only addiction treatment providers, but also for general and mental health systems seeking to better integrate addiction services. ASAM’s criteria are consensus guidelines to promote consistent delivery of services and improve matching patients to their assessed level of care. Beyond just placement criteria, however, the ASAM criteria guides chronic disease management of addiction, integration with mental and general health care systems and encourages effective and efficient use of resources.
ASAM’s criteria articulates comprehensive multidimensional assessment and a seamless continuum of services necessary for the treatment of people who pathologically pursue reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Whether a counselor or clinician is a seasoned practitioner with many years of experience or a person at the beginning of his or her career, ASAM’s criteria provides a strong foundation for how to design and deliver person-centered, individualized, outcomes-driven services. As such, the criteria assist not only in providing evidence-based services, but also in working effectively with many payers that manage care using the criteria. Most importantly, the criteria aims to increase access to care and use treatment resources efficiently and effectively so that as many as need services can receive them.