What is the Substance Use Disorder / Addiction Medicine Subspecialty? A Technical Review

What is the Substance Use Disorder / Addiction Medicine Subspecialty? A Technical Review

What is the Substance Use Disorder / Addiction Medicine Subspecialty? A Technical Review

The American Board of Medical Specialties has recognized Addiction Medicine (ADM) as a medical specialization (ABMS). Clinical experts, instructors, teachers, researchers, and change agents are all roles that credentialed ADM subspecialists can play.

Addiction recovery patients with unhealthy drug use or substance-related health disorders can get help from them with the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Family members afflicted by a sober living loved one’s substance usage or addiction can also seek care from ADM physicians.

Why is Addiction Medicine such a crucial field? 

The most preventable health concern in the United States is unhealthy substance use and addiction, but only approximately 10% of addiction recovery patients obtain treatment for it. By reiterating that addiction is a preventable, treatable disease and providing patients with access to qualified physicians, this new specialization will aid in the elimination of personal and public health effects, as well as the stigma associated with it.

It also offers interested physicians unique and rewarding career options, validates their expertise, and ensures that sober living patients, families, and communities have access to science-based prevention and treatment. 

Addiction Medicine is a field that offers a wide range of opportunities. 

Physicians who have been certified in any major specialty by an ABMS Member Board can now become certified in the subspecialty of ADM by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). By 2021, ABMS board-certified physicians will be able to take the ADM exam without having to attend a fellowship if they meet time-in-practice and other eligibility conditions. 

Additional materials on the ADM subspecialty and the ADM certification pathways can be found in the list below. 


What is the Substance Use Disorder / Addiction Medicine Subspecialty? A Technical Review

© 2018 American Society of Addiction Medicine 

The aim of the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine is to facilitate the establishment of high-quality, sustainable addiction medicine fellowships certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in order to ensure that physicians are trained in addiction medicine. 

The ADM Paths to Certification page of the American Society of Addiction Medicine provides details on the ADM exam and the procedures for obtaining certification. 

The ADM specialty is sponsored by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Visit their website to discover more about the ADM specialty, how to take the exam, and how to become certified. 

Fellows in Addiction Medicine 

The Addiction Medicine Toolkit for Health Care Providers in Training was created to assist new ADM fellows in their preparation. This service, based on the NIDAMED opioids website, provides up-to-date news, research, education, and clinical counseling on problems connected to drug use and addiction to help fellows prepare for the next stage of their careers. 

Our Sober House Directory is a great place to start looking for a home, but it’s ultimately up to you to find the right fit. While certification and a professional outside appearance are excellent starting points, you should conduct additional research before making a decision.

We are here to answer any questions you might have. While many homes offer wonderful sober living, we have a soft spot for Vanderburgh House, which we attribute to the fact that they helped us create this database.

Vanderburgh Communities, offers evidence-based resources and best practices to member organizations. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run a sober house, contact us by visiting our website here.


  1. About the Addiction Medicine Subspecialty.