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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2004 Dec;36(4):489-97.

Snapshot of the substance abuse treatment workforce in 2002: a synthesis of current literature.

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Danya International, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA.


Substance abuse among adolescents and adults continues to be a major public health concern. Given the prevalence of substance use, abuse, and dependence in the United States, the treatment needs of the population who abuse substances are great. Adolescents and adults who abuse substances need competent, knowledgeable, and qualified staff to provide services to meet their treatment needs. However, providers of substance abuse treatment services are varied, ranging from those who have minimal formal training to those who have specialized degrees and credentials in the field. In addition, substance abuse professionals represent a variety of fields (social work, psychiatry, psychology, etc) as opposed to a single unifying discipline. Few studies have been conducted examining the background, qualifications, and professional development needs of treatment staff. This article represents an attempt to lay the groundwork for future research. It summarizes information on staff demographics, level of competency, training, recruitment, and retention. In addition, recommendations are made for the advancement of research.

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