In August, the University of Findlay will begin offering a new minor titled “Substance Use Disorders” in efforts to educate students and the community on all aspects of addictions. Housed in the Social Work and Gerontology Program in the College of Health Professions, the minor will consist of four core courses available to students of any major as well as community members.
The courses will teach about the complexities faced by those suffering from substance use disorders and provide students with an understanding of how to help individuals recover from addictions. This multi-disciplinary area of study will encompass the biological, psychological, sociological, spiritual and economic aspects of all types of addictions.
“It wasn’t just something that we thought up, it was more of a community partnership and a response to a community need,” said Robin Walters-Powell, Ed.D., Chair of the Social Work and Gerontology Program.
The conversation started two years ago when the University and the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS Board) wanted to determine how the University can contribute to addiction recovery in the community. After a widespread survey on and off campus, it was determined that the University’s role would be educating students on addictions and creating professionals in recovery by offering this minor.
“Whether one works in the healthcare field, business, or education, many professions are impacted by substance use disorder in one way or another,” Walters-Powell explained. “The minor will be taught only by people who are actively working as professionals in addictions. It doesn’t just cover drugs. It covers all addictions including alcohol, eating and sex.”
Graduates of the University’s Social Work Program, Krystina Strimpel ’10 and Angela Hendren ’02 were hired to instruct the courses.
Strimpel earned a Master of Social Work with a concentration in mental health following her undergraduate career at the University of Findlay and brings years of experience working with individuals in crisis, suffering from mental health or substance use disorders. She serves as the Chief Clinical Officer for the Midwest Recovery Center in Maumee.
Hendren also earned a Master of Social Work following her bachelor’s degree at the University of Findlay. For the past 13 years Hendren has worked primarily with diverse populations who have been diagnosed with a mental health or substance use disorder as an intake and crisis manager at Zepf Center in Toledo. Hendren also serves as a crisis intervention trainer for law enforcement in Lucas County.
Both Strimpel and Hendren look forward to educating students on the opioid epidemic to help Hancock County work toward a solution.
“Offering these courses puts us that much closer to the forefront of the opioid epidemic. Having this program will help us to move forward,” said Strimpel. “When people start to see the biology behind substance use disorder, then we can start working toward the problem.”
Strimpel will teach the first course titled “Alcohol and Other Drugs: The Fundamentals” starting this fall. This course will be followed by “Approaches to Addiction Treatment,” “Theory and Practice of Individual and Group Counseling” and “Professional Ethics and Evaluation.” Throughout the courses students will hear from professional speakers and panels, and work with agencies and individuals involved in recovery.
The minor/courses are interdisciplinary and recommended for all professions that require interaction with others. “Because substance abuse is a growing problem, these courses would be ideal for anyone dealing with people face-to-face,” said Walters-Powell.
Students may register for the courses without obtaining the Substance Use Disorders minor as the courses have been designed to work well for students of any area of study as well as working professionals.
The minor consists of 18 semester hours including the four core courses and two additional elective courses. At this time, the University is working toward offering a certificate to those who complete the minor and hope to have the certificate available by spring 2018. A certificate for pharmacy students who complete the minor is currently available.
Students who complete the Substance Use Disorders minor will be eligible to apply for the Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant License (CDCA). During the final course, students will receive assistance while filling out the application.
For more information about the Substance Use Disorders minor or courses, please contact Robin Walters-Powell at 419-434-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.