ACTCM Challenges Healthcare Community to Develop Integrated Opioid Addiction Treatment Protocol

Chinese and Western Medicine Experts to Discuss Models of Care to Treat the Whole Person


SAN FRANCISCO — An estimated 170 people die from drug overdoses every day in the U.S. with about two-thirds of deaths linked to opioids. Mounting evidence indicates that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine calm addiction cravings, regulate the nervous system and manage pain.

To address what is now considered the worst drug crisis in American history, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at CIIS (ACTCM) will bring together healthcare experts to discuss how the San Francisco community can help to create a better model for patient care during the opioid epidemic.

Join leading Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western medicine, mental health, and addiction experts, as they discuss the state of addiction in San Francisco, the current standard of care, the path for integrated pain and addiction treatment, and the role of acupuncture and TCM in patient care.

Time & Location

Designed for both health practitioners and the general public, panelists will examine the publicly funded, integrated models of substance abuse treatment therapy that have proven most effective for prescription opioid, heroin, and fentanyl addiction and consider how it can be replicated on a wide scale.

“The opportunity has arrived for the acupuncture profession to demonstrate efficacy and adequate preparation for entrance into the pain management team of Western medicine. The complexity of chronic pain, mental health issues, traumatic history and addiction is a multifactorial problem that cannot be treated with a single line prescription pad,” added Pam Olton, LAc, ACTCM doctoral candidate and event advisor.

Dr. David E. Smith, MD, panelist at the Oct. 7 event, believes that in San Francisco, “we have made tremendous headway in treating addiction with organizations like HealthRight360, but there is infinitely more work to be done.” Addiction, according to Smith, is a primary medical illness “best treated in a multidisciplinary fashion with an abstinence-oriented model of recovery, utilizing the group process in conjunction with medication assisted treatment. By bringing together health professionals from diverse backgrounds, we recognize that comprehensive treatment services are the path forward.”

Panel Participants

Tickets and Pricing

This event is offered as Continuing Education Units (CUEs) for health practitioners to gain important understanding of how to screen patients for addiction, when to refer to specialists, and the current resources and experts available to those struggling with opioid addiction.

Tickets are $30 per person. To purchase, visit: Eventbrite




About the Panelists

David E. Smith, MD, DFASAM, FISAM, FAACT is recognized as a national leader in the treatment of addictive disease, the psychopharmacology of drugs, new research strategies in the management of drug abuse problems, and appropriate prescribing practices for physicians.

Dr. Smith founded the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics in 1967, inaugurating the principle of “Health Care is a Right, not a Privilege.” He is Chair, Addiction Medicine & MQAC, for Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services in Petaluma, CA, a residential treatment center for teens with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, a Consulting Physician for Avery Lane Healing Center for Women, as well as the Medical Director of Center Point, in San Rafael, CA, a therapeutic community focused on those coming out of the criminal justice system. Dr. Smith is a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, a past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM). He is the Founding Editor of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs and co-author of Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions that Steal Your Life.


Robyn “Ra” Adcock, MSOM, LAc, practices acupuncture at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Mission Bay and Children’s Hospital Oakland in the pediatric oncology and clinical research departments. Currently, she is the lead clinician for a 3-year, $3 million dollar PCORI study that will access the efficacy of acupressure to relieve the most common symptoms associated with cancer treatment. She joins the UCSF’s Integrative Pediatric and Palliative Care Team this fall as the first licensed acupuncturist.

At UCSF, Adcock also created the internationally recognized “Care for the Caregiver” staff support program that provided more than 3,000 acupuncture treatments to more than 1,000 doctors, nurses, and administrators at the hospital. Ra also serves as the Executive Director of the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) and previously as the California representative to the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and a member of the California Acupuncture Coalition (CAC).


Steven Tierney, Ed.D. LPCC is Professor Emeritus in Community Mental Health at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a licensed psychotherapist in California (LPCC) and Massachusetts (LMHC) and is a nationally certified counselor (NCC). Steven is a certified addiction specialist (CAS) has been awarded Diplomat and Clinical Mental Health Specialist Certification by the American Mental Health Counselors Association; the highest level of professional achievement in his profession.

Steven serves on the Steering Committee for the Meditation in Recovery Group at SF Zen Center extending Buddhism and recovery to several hundred community members each year. He is also the co-founder and chief education officer of the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation. The SF Mindfulness Foundation provides mindfulness-based relapse prevention and addiction services provider training.


Avery Erickson, MS, LAc and doctoral fellow, is a CIIS/ACTCM alumnus and specializes in integrative trauma recovery and addiction. They have served patients in private practice, as well as in addiction rehabilitation facilities. They currently reside and practice in Phoenix, AZ.


Pamela Olton, MT (ASCP), LAc, is a doctoral candidate and event advisor who has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine since 1987. She is an ACTCM faculty member and laboratory manager and coordinator of the Acupuncture Program at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco.


ACTCM at the Forefront of Chinese Medicine and Health

Founded in 1980 in San Francisco, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine at CIIS is one of the oldest, most prestigious Chinese medicine schools in the U.S. Distinguished faculty and a rigorous curriculum have established ACTCM as a truly exceptional program that brings in students from all over the world.

ACTCM offers master’s and doctoral degrees in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine as well as public programs and continuing education courses through CIIS. Our students, alumni, and faculty are deeply engaged in the acupuncture community and are leaders at the forefront of integrative care, research, public health, and holistic wellness.

ACTCM joined California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) as its fourth school in 2015. The merger has expanded resources and opportunities for acupuncture and mental health education and research.

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