CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Meeting theme: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges"

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2023

The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Section invites submission of abstracts for presentation at the 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo during November 12-15.


The ATOD Section encourages abstracts that address the annual meeting theme: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social & Ethical Challenges” under any of the submission categories described below. Submissions to the ATOD section may address novel research, evidence-based practice, and practice-based evidence that will extend our understanding of ATOD initiation, substance use, and substance use disorder. Submissions may focus on specific policy or intervention strategies, prevention or control or treatment initiatives, and initiatives directed toward specific populations (e.g., K-12 students, college students, minorities, pregnant women, employees/workers), geographic areas, as well as ATOD-related epidemiological work.


The ATOD section values health equity in all content areas and encourages submissions that reflect a focus on social drivers of health, especially work centered on historically marginalized and/or underrepresented populations. However, all abstracts related to substance use are welcome, along with submissions that cut across the topics, including efforts that focus on multiple substances or strategies. Please consider submitting abstracts that address ATOD issues across substances and addressing the emerging contexts of polysubstance use and integration of a full continuum of services under each of the categories outlined below.


We ask all authors to use person first, non- stigmatizing, and inclusive language in their abstracts, posters, and presentations. The words that we use to describe substance use and the persons who use substances have an impact on both an individual’s willingness to seek and accept services and the willingness of local communities and healthcare systems to provide them. Therefore, we ask that authors use phrases such as ‘persons who use substances,’ ‘substance use or misuse,’ ‘harmful substance use,’ ‘positive or negative drug screens,’ ‘return to use,’ and ‘medication for a substance use disorder’ and avoid terms like ‘addict, junkie, drunk,’ ‘substance abuse/abuser,’ ‘clean, dirty, failed drug test’, ‘relapse,’ and ‘medication assisted treatment.’ For more on person first language and vocabulary related to substance use please check out this advice from the National Institute of Drug Abuse or the ‘Addictionary’, or contact Deirdre Dingman (


APHA ATOD will not accept abstracts that are submitted by individuals who have an association or affiliation with alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or other drug industries, their representatives (including legal), producers, wholesalers, retailers, associations, foundations, or trade organizations.  Disclosure at the time of submission is required.

  • Alcohol
    Submissions under this category may address a range of alcohol-related topics such as policy, prevention, policy compliance, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, education, and social/environmental impact.
  • Cannabis
    Submissions under this category may include, but are not limited to issues of surveillance, policy, law, and social/ environmental impact(s), as well as issues related to health, safety, secondhand exposure, prevention, marketing, education, and treatment/cessation approaches.
  • Integrated Behavioral Health: Mental Health & Substance Use
    Submissions under this category may address research, education, interventions, and stigma across a wide range of co-occurring mental health, addiction/substance use, chronic health conditions, and clinical settings. Special emphasis is encouraged on addressing inequities in access to care and the impact these have on individuals, families, and communities. In addition, we seek submissions in partnership with the Mental Health or other Sections for collaborative session/s that bridge these aspects of behavioral health. When addressing all substances, and not a specific substance, all ATOD substances (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs) are expected.
  • Opioids
    Submissions under this category may address all aspects of opioid initiation and use, opioid use disorders, and/or the current opioid crisis, including the cascading effects that penetrate all societal systems. Topics may include, but are not limited to policy, legal considerations, education, surveillance, assessment, prevention, intervention, harm reduction, care/treatment, and recovery.
  • Student Outstanding Work Award Candidate
    The ATOD Section seeks to recognize promising work by students in any ATOD topic area. To be considered for an award, students must submit an abstract under the Student Outstanding Work Award Candidate category. Accepted abstracts will be included in a special poster session highlighting student work. Award winners will be selected from poster session participants and announced at the ATOD Section reception. Abstracts submitted to but not selected for the Student Outstanding Work Award Candidate session will be considered for inclusion in one of the other ATOD sessions.
  • Tobacco
    Submissions within this category may address tobacco or nicotine products in all forms (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, hookah, smokeless tobacco, and/or e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, etc.), patterns of use, secondhand smoke or aerosol exposure, policies, product regulations, prevention, cessation, and other related topics.
  • Other Drugs
    Submissions under this category may address all aspects of other drug use (distinct from alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and opioids). Topics may include but are not limited to illicit drug use, harmful or non-medical prescription drug use, and polysubstance use.

  • Authors must submit abstracts electronically through the APHA abstract management web site: The web site provides complete instructions on the length and format of abstracts. Authors may also contact the Program Planning Chair, M. J. Scales (, for clarification or assistance if needed.
  • Session proposals are not solicited in the call for abstracts; however, they will be considered.
    • Submit an abstract for each individual presentation following the steps on the submission form.
    • Submit an abstract for the overarching session and in the ‘Comments to Organizer’ text box located on the title step of the submission form, indicate the abstract ID numbers and presenter names of those abstracts that should be included with the proposal. Also indicate that each abstract will be blind reviewed and accepted on its own merit and that all abstracts must be accepted in order for the entire proposal to be accepted.
    • Please contact the ATOD Program Chair, M. J. Scales ( for specific instructions regarding session proposals.
  • Structured abstracts are preferred for submission to the ATOD Section, consequently, abstracts that do not reflect the following two formats may be less favorably scored by abstract reviewers.
    • Original research submissions: the abstract should include the following sections: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.
    • Policy, descriptive, or other types of submissions: the abstract should include the following sections: Issue, Description, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations.
  • Abstracts are limited to 300 words or less
  • All abstracts must include at least one measurable learning outcome that uses one of the following measurable action verbs: explain, demonstrate, analyze, formulate, discuss, compare, differentiate, describe, name, assess, evaluate, identify, design, define, or list. Please note that understand, know, and learn are NOT measurable learning outcomes and should not be used.
    • EXAMPLE: Compare risk of substance use disorders by gender and race/ethnicity.
  • All abstracts must be free of trade and/or commercial product names in order to qualify for continuing education credit; however, speakers may mention trade and/or commercial product names during their presentations.
    • EXAMPLE: State “a major tobacco company” rather than naming the business or its products.
  • Presenting authors must provide a conflict of interest disclosure and a qualification statement that specifically justifies their presentation of the material. A general statement of the author’s training or degrees earned is NOT sufficient. 
    • EXAMPLE: I am qualified because I have worked in this area for the past 12 years. I was a member of the team that conceptualized this project and have been actively involved in all aspects of its execution, including the evaluation of outcomes described in this presentation.
  • Authors may indicate their preference for “oral only,” “poster only,” or “no preference” at submission. Oral sessions are limited and highly competitive. We encourage authors to select “no preference” to maximize likelihood of acceptance.
  • APHA and the ATOD Section values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, veterinarians, and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials.  For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter must provide:
    • An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names.
    • At least one MEASURABLE outcome (DO NOT USE “To understand” or “To learn” as objectives, they are not measurable). Examples of Acceptable Measurable Action Words:  Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.
    • A signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Qualification Statement. See an example of an acceptable Qualification Statement on the online Disclosure form.
    • Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education credit. Please contact the ATOD Section program planning chair (M. J. Scales) for all other questions.


Program Planner Contact Information:

M. J. Scales, MPH, CPS