The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals have joined forces with the Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (Administracion de Servicios de Salud y Contra la Adiccion (ASSMCA)) to host a collegiate Workforce Forum on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 to encourage college students to enter into the addiction and mental health workforce.
According to The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, released in November 2016, although 20.8 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder in 2015, only 2.2 million people (10.4%) received any type of treatment. Of those treated, only 63.7% received treatment in specialty substance use disorder treatment programs, in part due to a nationwide shortage of professionals trained to work in this specialty field. The addiction and mental health and professional workforce must grow and strengthen to manage this increased demand for its vital services, especially in states like West Virginia which has the highest rate of deaths from drug overdoses of any state. It is more imperative now than ever that we recruit and retain our professional addiction and mental health workforce. The Puerto Rico Workforce Forum will take place from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Universidad del Este, Ana G. Méndez University System, Assembly Hall Road, 190 Km 1.8, Carolina, Puerto Rico. In addition, the event will be live-streamed to the public and coordinated satellite events.
The forum will focus on the rewarding benefits of the substance use and mental health disciplines, the national workforce shortage and Puerto Rico’s workforce needs, state certification and licensing requirements, networking and mentoring connections, and other professional development opportunities.
Speakers will include representatives from the Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (Administracion de Servicios de Salud y Contra la Adiccion (ASSMCA)), NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Universidad del Este (SUGAM); Professional Social Work College of Puerto Rico; the Psychology Association of Puerto Rico, Recovered Peers, and the Governor of Puerto Rico (or a designated representative). The forum will also include a roundtable discussion, with representatives from Universidad Central del Caribe, University of Puerto Rico, ASSMCA, and Universidad Del Este. Finally, in-person attendees will be able to network with local substance use disorder treatment providers to learn more about employment and internship opportunities.
“Workforce shortages in the addiction profession are endangering our ability to work effectively with the opioid and alcohol epidemic’s in Puerto Rico and across the country,” states NAADAC Executive Director, Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, “It is inspiring that the Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services (ASSMCA) is taking the reins on this issue by addressing the need to develop more workforce by sponsoring a Forum to call attention to the need and to increase the awareness of the addiction specialist discipline. Education, competency and skills that are specific to addiction treatment and recovery are the strategies that will help us win the day on this crisis.”
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NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, represents the professional interests of more than 95,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused healthcare professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad. NAADAC’s members are addiction counselors, educators, and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support, and education. An important part of the healthcare continuum, NAADAC members, and its 47 state affiliates work to create healthier individuals, families and communities through prevention, intervention, quality treatment and recovery support.