Addiction Programs

For information about the Addiction programs, please contact:

John Ellis


Professor of Instruction
Office: Polsky 415
Phone: 330-972-5877

Why Study Addictions?​

  • 21.6 million Americans age 12 and over had a diagnosable substance use disorder (SUD) in 2013, a figure that is similar to statistics of the past decade.
  • 20-50% of clients receiving treatment at mental health facilities have co-occurring disorders with SUDs.
  • Approximately 60% of patients seen in trauma centers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of admission.
  • 25% of hospital beds are occupied by persons who have an alcohol-related problem.
  • 10.2% of all children under age 18 live with a father, who abuses or is dependent on alcohol; 5.1% with a mother.
  • 25.5% of people age 50+ engage in risky substance use; 10.6% have addiction(s).
  • 50% of confirmed cases of child maltreatment involve parents with substance abuse problems.
  • About 80% of children placed out of home due to maltreatment have parents with substance abuse issues.
  • 80% of persons incarcerated have a SUD upon entry to prison.
  • 67% of mentally ill jail inmates have SUDs.
  • 78.4% of juveniles age 10-17 in the juvenile justice system are substance-involved.
  • 34.7% of all sheltered adults who were homeless had chronic substance use issues.

Basically, wherever you practice social work or any helping profession for that matter, you will encounter individuals and families struggling with substance use problems. Having the knowledge and skills to recognize and intervene in the early stages of a problem can prevent the more devastating effects that would inevitably follow.

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The School of Social Work and Family Sciences at The University of Akron offers the following:

  • A course (Introduction to Addictions, 7750:260) that has been approved by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board ( as meeting the requirements for certification by the Board as a Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA)
  • Twelve undergraduate courses in addictions, most of which are online
  • A minor in addiction services
  • Basic certificate in addiction services designed to meet the educational requirements for licensing by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board

Addiction Services Certificate (Basic)–12 credits required

The Addiction Services (Basic) Certificate is best suited for students looking to work in the helping professions. This certificate is intended for individuals who wish to enhance their knowledge of addiction and addiction treatment.

Curriculum Guide (Required Courses)                   

Minor in Addiction–18 credits required

Curriculum Guide (Required Courses)                                                                

  • Five courses are designed to meet the educational requirements for licensing as a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board for those who have a master’s degree in a behavioral science. (Go to for the complete list of requirements.)
  • Click here for a Chemical Dependency Specific Education Grid (graduate)
  • Foundation in Addiction Studies, 7750:651 (3 credits)
    An introductory course for the professional seeking a broader understanding of theories and critical issues in the addictions field. The course focuses on the theories of addiction; legal and ethical issues pertaining to addictions; diversity and cultural competence; and the role of addictions in the current health care delivery system.

  • Evidence-Based Practices for Addictions, 7750:653 (4 credits)
    Focuses on knowledge and skills needed for the development and implementation of prevention strategies, treatment approaches, and recovery maintenance in the addictions field.  Emphasis is placed on selection and utilization of evidence-based practices.

  • Addiction Treatment Modalities and Models, 7750:654 (3 credits)
    Emphasis on enhancement of knowledge and development of skills for use of evidence-based group and family therapy practices as they apply to work with people struggling with substance-related problems.

  • Addiction Assessment and Treatment Planning, 7750:652 (3 credits)
    Examines a broad range of instruments, tools, and strategies available for the identification and assessment of substance abuse problems.  Content includes four modules: Screening, brief intervention, and referral (SBIRT); assessment; diagnosis; and treatment planning.

  • Psychopharmacology in Addiction Treatment, 7750:655  (2 credits)
    Explores effects of psychoactive drugs of abuse and principles of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of substance use disorders.

To apply:

  • If you are a student at The University of Akron, complete the application (click here) and send the completed form as an email attachment to Prof. John Ellis at Notification of an admission decision will be sent via email at which time an appointment will be scheduled to complete a learning contract.
  • If you are not a student at The University of Akron, go to and apply to the university. There are several options available to you, i.e. application as a new freshman, transfer student, guest, post-bac, etc.