Vol. #15 No. 10 – January 2018

Welcome to 2018 and the January edition of Tips & Topics (TNT). I hope you, like me, are looking forward to a happy, healthy and productive year.


In late November/early December, I made a quick trip to India to do a three day training train on The ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) Criteria. I was in Pune, about 95 miles from Mumbai (formerly known or as Bombay). In November’s SOUL section I spoke about the bureaucracy of getting a visa to train in India.   Tips & Topics November 2017
Since this was India’s first introduction to The ASAM Criteria, I wanted to share a brief Q&A with Ranjana Pavamani, the driving force behind bringing this training into reality:
1. Who you are and why do you have such a passion for bringing The ASAM Criteria to India?
I am Ranjana Pavamani, Executive Director of IC&RC IADCC (International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) and International Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification Trust for India). I come from a pioneering background where my father, the late Dr. Vijayan Pavamani,
pioneered Drug Rehabilitation and Suicide Prevention for South East Asia In 1971 under The Calcutta Samaritans.
Over time, I felt this intense desire to work as a Drug Counselor, and I realized that the experience of working with my father would be a bonus or would expand, with additional formal training. In the 1990s, there was no formal training in Asia, to my knowledge. I was told about an Institute in Florida willing to accommodate me for Drug Counseling Training and I attended for a year. I returned to India at the end of the year and in 1999 onwards, began my endeavor to train counselors on addiction.
I do feel passionate about the ASAM Criteria, as it structures a precise assessment of a patient suffering with addiction/mental health Issues. Using the ASAM Criteria 6 assessment dimensions and the continuum of levels of care gives a person a chance of recovery, as opposed to forcing someone into a 21-day program. They, perhaps, may not need that length of stay or a 24-hour treatment setting.
The ASAM Criteria delivers excellent patient-care matching, which saves a lot of time and money. It enlightens the fact that recovery is very possible and the chances of getting out of addiction and leading a normal life are huge, with the guidance of the ASAM Criteria. I recommend that more and more medical and non-medical Institutions should use the ASAM Criteria for addiction treatment and recovery.
2What is the mission and activities of the IC&RC International Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification Trust for India?
In 2010 we began our efforts to establish an International Credentialing service for Drug Professionals, which we pioneered in the Indian subcontinent and established by 2012 called The IC&RC IADCC. You can see more about us on our website: IADCC
We worked with a department of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in the government of India called NISD (National Institute of Social Defence), which umbrellas 900 Drug Programs. They receive support from the Government of India. My father, Dr. Vijayan Pavamani was one of the founders of this department.
We then went on to work with those Drug Programs interested in International Credentialing and also with some of them that were privately-run Drug Programs.
3. Who came to the three days of ASAM Criteria training and how did you decide who should be invited?
On November 30th to December 2nd, 2017 in Pune, we had a small group of 16 doctors who were administrators in their hospitals in several states from all over India to take the ASAM Criteria training.
Three years ago, when we were organizing our syllabus for students to get our credentials, I came across the ASAM Criteria. On studying it, I realized that we needed someone from ASAM to teach us about it. We sent an email to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and then someone responded that there is Dr. David Mee-Lee who could be interested in training on the ASAM Criteria to those interested in India.
In our quest to promote the ASAM Criteria amongst the Drug Programs, a psychiatrist in Punjab asked me if we could deliver this training for Medical Practitioners. On this request, we began to request doctors who were working with addiction patients to take this training. We were requested to deliver this training and so we did!!
4. How do you think the training went and what are your Next Steps?
Our trainer was none other than Dr. David Mee-Lee for whose training we received excellent reviews for all those three days.
Here is our group:

If you want to see more photos:

Our next step is implementation of the ASAM Criteria in India. We hope that a few ambassadors of The ASAM Criteria would be available to mission their time in India to help with the implementation of The ASAM Criteria for a few medical Institutions.
Yours sincerely,
Ranjana Pavamani
Executive Director
The IC&RC International Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification Trust for India
While I had the opportunity to introduce something new to India, the USA, along with many other countries, have long looked to the ancient wisdom of India for health and spiritual guidance in our fast-paced society. In February 1968, fifty years ago, the Beatles travelled to Rishikesh in northern India to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation (TM) training course at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Note one recent study on Transcendental Meditation Program’s Impact on the Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Veterans.
Current treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are only partially effective. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an extensively-researched stress reduction method, the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, can reduce the PTSD symptoms of veterans.
The findings of the 46-patient study were published online December 29, 2017 in the journal Military MedicineResults indicated that TM practice reduced PTSD symptoms without re-experiencing trauma.
  • After 1 month of TM practice, all 46 veterans with PTSD responded.
  • Because of the magnitude of these results and dose-response effect, placebo effects are unlikely explanations for the results.
  • Major limitations were the absence of random assignment and lack of a control group. Those who self-selected to enter this study may not be representative of all veterans who have PTSD.
  • But when taking into account these results and all previous research on the TM technique in reducing psychological and physiological stress, the evidence suggests that TM practice may offer a promising adjunct or alternative method for treating PTSD.

TM has been extensively researched for other disorders like hypertension, heart attacks and other

cardiovascular disease; depression, insomnia and stress-related conditions.
For more on this research:  Evidence on the benefits of TM
“The Transcendental Meditation Program’s Impact on the Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Veterans: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study”
Robert E Herron, Ph.D., MBA Brian Rees, M.D., MPH, MC, USAR (Ret.)
Military Medicine.