July 31, 2006 –According to data gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), almost 20 million Americans are regular users of illicit drugs. Six million more abuse prescription drugs. Sixteen million abuse alcohol, with the number increasing over the last six years. Employed substance abusers cost their employers approximately twice as much in medical and worker compensation claims as non-using workers.
To address the rising need for counselors who can recognize and refer individuals in need of treatment for substance abuse and chemical dependency, the University’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Treatment Training Program now offers an undergraduate certificate program, the first and only one of its kind in the state of Utah. The new certificate, recently approved by the Utah State Board of Regents, will increase the number of matriculated students in the cohort, leading to licensure and improved prospects of employability for students. The mission of the training program is to enhance the quality of substance abuse treatment and care delivery in the state of Utah by providing basic through advanced training in drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
The certificate, which will require 23 hours of credit, grew out of courses that originally began in 1982 and met educational and practicum licensure requirements for community substance abuse counselors. These classes were offered through the University and the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
Farriña Coulam, director of the Professional and Community Education (PACE) program in the University of Utah”s College of Social Work, notes “Substance abuse cuts across all segments of the population and impacts individuals, families, employers and employees. Everybody will encounter substance abuse in their lives-either with themselves, family, friends or work colleagues. Business and personnel departments throughout the community are increasingly interested in trained counselors because drug and alcohol abuse-related issues come up among employees. The training the certificate program offers will be essential in understanding treatment options and legal implications,” says Coulam, a licensed clinical social worker and an associate professor/lecturer in the College of Social Work.
Two cohorts of 25 students, comprised of community substance abuse treatment counselors, undergraduates and graduate students, will begin evening classes each fall and continue studies through the following summer semester. The University will place students with private and non-profit substance abuse treatment agencies-like Project Reality, Odyssey House and Volunteers of America, among others-to assist students in fulfilling the 300 educational and practicum hours required for licensure.
Options are available for licensed professionals, graduate students and matriculated undergraduate students to enroll in two courses without applying to the year-long program. Students in the fields of social work, psychology, educational psychology, sociology, family and consumer studies, health, recreational therapy, business and human resource management may also benefit from increased knowledge in this area.
Curriculum for the new certificate program will include 12 courses, ranging from professional ethics to individual and group counseling to neurochemistry/pharmacology and the process and dynamics of addiction.
For more information on the University’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Treatment Training Program or the new undergraduate certificate program, visit http://www.socwk.utah.edu/pace/alchoholanddrug.asp or call 801-581-6192.