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K-State Today

October 5, 2018

Addiction counseling focus added to social work curriculum at Kansas State Polytechnic

By Julee Cobb

The Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus is giving students in the social work program an opportunity to explore substance use disorders more thoroughly through a new offering beginning this spring.

A focus area in addiction counseling is being added to the social work curriculum to help students gain a better understanding of how to serve persons struggling with substance use disorders and those in early recovery. Four courses make up the focus area and cover such topics as the fundamentals of substance use disorders, pharmacology, therapy approaches and case management. The first course begins in spring 2019 and is open to all social work students, including those on the Manhattan campus, as well as students pursuing other majors.

"We're excited to be able to offer social work students this new focus area because it creates an additional career pathway and could have a positive effect on earning potential," said Cheryl Calhoun, social work instructor at Kansas State Polytechnic. "The curriculum strengthens students' knowledge, skills and experiences with substance use disorders and directly supports the requirements of becoming a licensed addiction counselor."

Case Management and Holistic Recovery — new topics course SOCWK 310 — is being offered in the spring and introduces students to the concept of case management as well as the role case managers play in helping individuals with substance use disorders obtain and maintain recovery. This course spotlights the polytechnic learning style, giving students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field by observing and assisting a professional case manager at various agencies. The course also provides a platform for students to complete Person Centered Case Management, or PCCM, training, which makes it possible to be employed as a case manager at a substance use disorder treatment facility prior to graduating.

In summer 2019, the second and third courses in the addiction counseling focus will be offered. Understanding Substance Use Disorders — SOCWK340 — examines addiction at the micro, mezzo and macro level. The Nature and Effects of Addictive Substances — SOCWK 640 — explores the chemical nature of psychoactive drugs of abuse and dependence as well as symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal and the toxicity of substances. Next fall, Assessment and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders — new topics course SOCWK 610 — is offered as the final course in the focus area and provides students with a comprehensive examination of the treatment models for addiction, recovery and relapse.

Social work students who complete SOCWK 340 and 640, along with a practicum at a substance use disorder treatment facility, will be eligible to become dual licensed as Licensed Baccalaureate Social Workers, or LBSW, and Licensed Addictions Counselors, or LAC, upon graduation, adding to their professional potential.

For more information on the new focus area in social work, including how students on the Manhattan campus should enroll, contact Calhoun at 785-826-2944 or cherylcalhoun@k-state.edu.

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