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The Substance Abuse Counseling Workforce: Education, Preparation, and Certification.

Substance Abuse 2011;32(4):180-190. [doi: 10.1080/08897077.2011.600122]

Traci R. Rieckmann, PhD (Oregon Health & Sciences University, WS Node), Christiane Farentinos, MD (De Paul Treatment Centers, WS Node), Carrie J. Tillotson, MPH (Oregon Health & Sciences University, WS Node), Jonathan Kocarnik, MPH (University of Washington, PN Node), Dennis McCarty, PhD (Oregon Health & Sciences University, WS Node).

Access to evidence-based practices across the substance use disorder treatment continuum is critical to improving client outcomes and improving the quality of care overall. In order to improve quality of care and champion adoption of evidence-based practices, a comprehensive understanding of the workforce is critical. The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) is an alliance of drug abuse treatment programs and research centers testing new interventions and implementation factors for treating alcohol and drug use disorders. This paper reports on a workforce survey distributed to those providing direct services in 295 treatment units in the CTN, which obtained responses from 1750 individuals with a job title of "counselor" (n = 1395) or "counselor supervisor" (n = 355). A secondary analysis compared and described both groups.

Conclusions: Supervisors were more likely to be licensed or certified. Master's degrees were more common among counselors in outpatient and methadone programs. Counselors in residential settings tended to be on the job fewer years. Finally, higher education was associated with greater familiarity with and acceptance of evidence-based practices. In a climate of diminishing public resources with an emphasis on scientifically based treatment practices, the present study's results create a platform from which training, supervision, development of new practices, and implementation of interventions may be built. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2011)

Keywords: Adoption of interventions | Community health services | Counselors | CTN platform/ancillary study | Evidence-based treatment | Training | Substance Abuse (journal)

Document No: 773, PMID: 22014248, PMCID: PMC3486694.

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 10/27/2011.


Farentinos, Christiane
Kocarnik, Jonathan
McCarty, Dennis mail
Rieckmann, Traci R. mail
Tillotson, Carrie J.
NIDA-CTN-0008 www

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