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An exploration of substance abuse course offerings for students in counseling and social work programs.

Research paper by Jill L JL Russett, Amy A Williams

Indexed on: 11 Jul '14Published on: 11 Jul '14Published in: Substance abuse



Abstract

Counseling and social work programs educate future practitioners who are likely to be engaged in direct practice with individuals impacted by substance use disorders. Recent changes to policy and practice, including the Affordable Health Care Act and DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition), contribute to the ongoing need to develop substance abuse competencies among mental health professionals at all educational levels and across multiple disciplines.The authors reviewed programs of study and course catalogs identified and accessed online for counselor education, Bachelor of Social Work, and Master of Social Work programs to identify offered and required courses focused on substance abuse, as determined by course title and description.Of the 97 master's-level counseling programs reviewed, 67 required at least 1 course in substance abuse and 12 offered at least 1 elective in substance abuse. Of the 89 Bachelor of Social Work programs reviewed, 3 required at least 1 course in substance abuse and 40 offered at least 1 elective in substance abuse. Of the 58 Master of Social Work programs reviewed, 1 program required at least 1 course in substance abuse and 37 offered at least 1 elective.The continual need to advocate for education and development of substance abuse practitioners across professions is discussed, and directions for future research are described.