CLARION (PRNewswire) -- In response to the growing opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania and in the nation, Clarion University College of Health and Human Services announced today that it has developed an opioid treatment specialist certificate, which will be offered online, beginning this fall.
"The certificate was developed to educate treatment professionals in prevention and treatment of opioid abuse and addiction," said Dr. Ray Feroz, professor and chair of the department of human services, rehabilitation, health and sport sciences. "It is one way Clarion can aid in combating the statewide and nationwide opioid crisis."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania was fourth in the nation in drug overdose deaths in 2015 - an increase of 28 percent over 2014 statistics - and the epidemic continues to grow. Drug overdose has surpassed traffic accidents and gun deaths as the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2015.
"Fighting the ongoing battle against heroin and opioid abuse in the state is a top priority of my administration," Governor Wolf said. "I'm proud to announce this new curriculum with Clarion University because education is a powerful force in this fight and it is my sincere hope that people take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about opioid addiction and what part we can each play in this effort."
"The opioid epidemic has reached into every community, creating a need to have highly skilled professionals dedicated to helping people with addiction," said State Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest). "This certificate program will help ensure that those who want to help can be trained in the best and newest treatment methods, without having to travel far away for that education."
Faculty experts in addictions, rehabilitation, social work, psychology and nursing contributed to the design of the certificate, which addresses the specific challenges brought on by the opioid crisis. The coursework provides advanced information on opioid abuse and its prevention, education and treatment. Participants will learn in-depth opioid diagnosis, detox, treatment and recovery aspects, as well as empowerment of patients and advocacy for individuals, and skills to influence legislation and public policy.
The 12-credit certificate requires no prerequisites. Anyone may pursue the certificate, but it is particularly beneficial to professionals who want to strengthen their credentials and students who want to graduate with stronger job prospects. Feroz said the certificate is particularly pertinent to drug counselors, prevention specialists, case managers, EMTs, emergency room personnel, social workers, HIV/AIDS treatment specialists, school counselors, probation and parole staff, law enforcement, children and family therapists, assessment specialists and other human services professionals who work with impacted clients and families.
For those interested in enrolling, please visit www.Clarion.edu/OpioidSpecialist or call Dr. Ray Feroz at 814-393-2052, Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences at 814-393-2325, or Admissions at 800-672-7171, ext. 1.