It has been historically known that substance abuse has affected all societies

It has been historically known that substance abuse has affected all societies, especially in the United States. Estimates show that addiction disorders involve 32 million Americans (James & Gilliland as cited in Capuzzi et, al. 2016). Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association (APA 2013) projects that approximately 8.5% of Americans 18 years or older will meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder. For cannabis use disorders, they estimated 1.5%, and about 0.3% for cocaine use disorder (Capuzzi 2016).
Not far back, in the state of Florida, the Department of Children and Families reported over 24,000 individuals received care for alcohol abuse during 2015 and 2016. Notably, 23,900 of those individuals were ages 18 and up, and 41.3% were aged 35 and up. Heroin, for example, is another problem that has resurged in our nation and Florida is no exception. The numbers are startling, in 2015 there were 779 deaths heroin-related. Four out of five heroin users began misusing prescription medication, particularly in the South Florida area, Palm Beach, which reported 165, Orange County 108, Miami-Dade 92, Broward 80, and Sarasota 68. These numbers are enraging fear that heroin will soon brunt the entire state (Floridahealth.gov).
It is equally important to say that the use of substances and abusing them have been linked to a variety of common issues and problems. These issues may encompass violence of any form, child mistreatment, mental health maladies, risks during pregnancy, sexual risks, these are to name a few (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016 p,5).
In Florida, the substance abuse counseling certification provides four types of certifications divided in two level tiers classified as Lower tier, and Higher tier. In the lower tier we find the following certifications; Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) and Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC). In the higher tier we find the following certifications; Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) and Master Certified Addiction (MAC).
Being enrolled in the Master’s program in the counseling field, and being exposed to substance abuse treatment programs as an intern, I have been able to see the demand for qualified professionals with proper training to serve this community effectively. On the other hand, I see this as a great opportunity to be accredited by the state of Florida, since my biggest professional goal is to have my counseling practice.
Education
The state of Florida establishes different levels of education for each level of certification. To obtain accreditation as a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS), interested individuals must first pass a criminal background check, and complete 150 practice hours in the areas of A;D treatment. The 150 hours of training must include these specific areas and times; Clinical Evaluation (10 hours), Treatment Planning (5 hours), Referral to Other A;D Specialists (5 hours), Service Coordination (5 hours), A;D Counseling of Clients (20 hours), Client and Family Education (5 hours), Case Documentations (5 hours), and Professional and Ethical Responsibilities (15 hours). Additionally, within the 150 hours of training, an applicant must have been guided in Understanding Addiction/Treatment Knowledge (37 hours), Application to Practice/Professional Readiness (37 hours), HIV/AIDS (4 hours), and Domestic Violence (2 hours).
Part of the educational curriculum for the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) a total of 250 hours of practice in core areas of A;D treatment. These hours are divided by achieving a number of tasks in different areas of training. The interested individual needs to work on obtaining the following hours in training: Clinical Evaluation (25 hours), Treatment Planning (15 hours), Referral to other A;D specialists 5 hours), Service Coordinator (5 hours), and A;D Counseling Clients (30 hours). Aditionally, it is required to in: Client, Family, and Community Education (10 hours), Case Documentation (10 hours), Ethical Responsibilities (30 hours), Understanding Addiction/Treatment Knowledge (57 hours), Application to Practice/Professional Readiness (57 hours), HIV/AIDS (4 hours), and Domestic Violence (2 hours). Part of the established requirements state that if the person has a HS diploma or GED, he or she needs to work on their 300 hours of direct supervision. On the other hand, if the individual already has an Associate or a higher degree, the direct supervised hours are shortened to 150. The last part of the requirements include the need for three reference letters, a signed FCB Code of Ethics, and completion of the Florida specific A;D examination with a passing grade.
Continuing on, the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) certification requires a total of 350 hours of training in the field of A;D treatment. The breakdown of these hours are as follows: Clinical Evaluation (35 hours), Treatment Planning (20 hours), Referral to other A;D specialists (5 hours), Service Coordination (5 hours), A;D Counseling Clients (50 hours), Client, Family and Community Education (15 hours), Case Documentation (15 hours), Professional and Ethical Responsibilities (30 hours), Supervision (15 hours), Understanding Addiction/Treatment Knowledge (70 hours), Application to Practice/Professional Readiness (70 hours), HIV/AIDS (4 hours), and Domestic Violence (2 hours).
Training
The individual interested in the Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) must work in complying with 2,000 hours training of supervised experience in A;D treatment. Of the 2,000 hours, one hundred hours must be applied towards direct supervision. Three letters of recommendations are needed as well. Lastly, the individual pursuing this certification is mandated to pass the Florida specific A;D examination and sign FCB’s Code of Ethics.
A more demanding certification regarding the total number of hours in A&D treatment is the Certified Addiction Counselor known as (CAC). A total of 6,000 hours must be attained. A reduction of supervised hours of experience can be reduce to 4,000 if the applicant has a higher level of education, such as a bachelor egree or higher.
The Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) is the highest level compared to the other certifications. The requisites for this level are also exhaustive because the applicant either has a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from an Accredited University or College. The certification requests 6,000 hours in supervised A;D experience. However, if the applicant holds a Master’s degree or Ph.D. these hours can be reduced to 4,000.
The individual applying for the CAP certification, and with a Bachelor’s degree, only needs to earn 300 hours of direct supervision. In case that the person applying for the certification has a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Counseling, the individual will only need 200 hours of direct supervision. In addition to these requirements, three professional letters of recommendation are needed, sign the FCB Codes of Ethics, and lastly, pass the Florida specific A&D examination (Human Services Resources, 2018)
Exam
Earning credentials through the Florida Certification Board requires to pass two exams in order to become fully certified as a substance abuse counselor. For those applicants who want to be certified as an Addiction Counselor (CAC) need to take the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) Alcohol and other Drug Counselor (ADC) exam.
The Florida Certified Addiction Professional Exam is required to be taken for those applying to the (CAP) certification. The applicant can choose not to take the IC & RC ADC exams. By following this route, he or she can earn a reciprocal credential. Likewise, an MCAP applicant will have to take the Florida Certified Master’s Level Addiction Professional Exam. If the applicant aspires to practice in another state, a reciprocal certification is needed. The applicant is mandated to take the IC;RC ADC Exam; although, in the state of Florida it is not required to take the national exam.
Work
The Substance Abuse Certification whether it is CAS, CAP or MCAP is suitable for those who are working or planning to work with a substance abuse related population. The certification is advantageous especially for those individuals working with adolescents or young adult. As Hart ; Ksir (2015) mentioned, during the young stages of life, it is when drug use begins to reach high levels of addiction. Thus, pursuing the Substance Abuse Certification will positively affect my curriculum as a counselor, since I have started working on my practicum and intern hours at a substance abuse treatment facility. Besides, one of the areas I want to expand my expertise is in working with the population as mentioned above.
Practice Standards
The Florida Certification Board (FCB) establishes that certified professionals must abide by their behavior to the highest standards of ethical practice. Within the professional standards, the certified professional should not be involved in any way in discrimination by race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, or religion. Therefore the FCB code of ethical and professional conduct applies to all individuals seeking certification. It is in the best interest for the applicant to adhere and become familiar with the BCB Code to avoid further violations that may have detrimental result in his or her career (FCB, 2014).

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