Portuguese Association of Addiction Medicine

Brief History

APMA is the third world oldest association of medical doctors on addiction medicine. This is remarkable at a Portuguese national level, but also important at an international and foreign affairs level, because the APMA is connected with the foundation of ISAM - International Society of Addiction Medicine, in April 1999, at Eisenhower Medical Center Campus - Betty Ford Center, Rancho Mirage, Ca., U.S.A. (with actual world headquarters at Calgary, Canada).

APMA was founded in 1990, in Lisbon, Portugal by two Military Medical Doctors (Portuguese Defense Ministry) with the speciality of Psychiatry.

One of the co-founders was from Portuguese Navy Medicine, J. Margalho Carrilho M.D. P.Navy Veteran. Dr. Margalho Carrilho received training on Addiction Medicine in 1985, at U.S. Navy Medicine, Naval Drug Rehabilitation Center, Miramar Naval Air Station (Top Gun pilot school) in San Diego, U.S.A., and was the pioneer that introduced in Portugal in 1987, the Minnesota Model and the twelve steps mutual help groups of Addiction Medicine (Medical model). The other co-founder was from Portuguese Army Medicine, Dr. José Carrilho Ribeiro Leitão M.D. P. Army Veteran. Dr. Carrilho Ribeiro Leitão has introduced and developed, since 1990, the world pioneer Netherlands social approach on opiates harm reduction, VIH prevention including syringes street distribution and exchange program, Methadone substitution program including distribution at street level with local team with social workers and nurses. This Netherlands social model has been adapted to Portugal at a national level law, in 1999.

Other APMA co-founders included Rui Correia M.D., José Tropa M.D., Ernesto Gomes Machado M.D., Francisco Henriques M.D., Carlos Pina Brito M.D., Teresa Sá Nogueira M.D. Between 1990 and 1995 APMA developed several medical education activities such as:

  • The Addiction Medicine Weekends Courses for General Practitioners, G.P.
  • APMA Newsletter - Portuguese edition of the Journal of Addictive Diseases (with ASAM authorization)
  • National Conference on Addiction Medicine (every two years)
In 1995 the APMA President and the Vice President (J. Margalho Carrilho MD and José Carrilho Ribeiro Leitão MD) along with ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) President (David Smith MD, PhD from San Francisco) and other members of the ASAM Board of Directors made a joint meeting at Estoril, Lisbon, Portugal, and established a partnership between ASAM and APMA. Also present in this meeting was a Canadian invited observer from CSAM (Canadian Addiction Medicine Association), Nady el Guebaly MD PhD, who pointed the urgent necessity of a world addiction medicine association. This proposal was unanimously approved by the representatives of ASAM and APMA at Estoril, Lisbon, Portugal. This moment signalizes the beginning of the International Society of Addiction Medicine, ISAM.
The development of ISAM continued during several meetings at ASAM annual conferences in U.S.A (Atlanta in 1996, San Diego in 1997 and New Orleans in 1998) with the involvement and the help of Addiction Medicine doctors from Italy, Israel and Egypt and ASAM / CSAM / APMA.

The foundation of ISAM occurred in 1999 at the Palm Springs Betty Ford Center Ca. U.S.A. with the presence of opinion leaders from 32 countries selected by ASAM, CSAM and U.S. Department of State - USAIDS, with the White House Director of ONDCP -Office of National Drug Control Policy, Barry McCaffrey, Bill Clinton President representatives of USAIDS, U.S. Department of State of Madeleine Albright and the co-founder and CEO of Betty Ford Center, ex first lady of U.S.A. Betty Ford.

The APMA President was elected for the ISAM new board of directors with the strong help the Brazil representatives group.
In 2006 the ISAM annual meeting took place in Oporto, Portugal with the collaboration of Psychiatry Department of Oporto Medical University directed by Professor António Palha, MD PhD.
In 2019 Professor Cristina Ribeiro, MD PhD and Professor Rui Tato Marinho, MD PhD and their team started the APMA new era.