Addiction Programs

For information about the Addiction programs, please contact:

John Ellis.jpg

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

Why Study Addictions?​

  • Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) affect over 20 million Americans aged 12 and over.
  • 165 million currently abuse alcohol and/or drugs. 
  • 31.9 million are current illegal drug users. 
      • 20-50% of clients receiving mental health treatment also have SUDs.
      • 50% of confirmed cases of child maltreatment involve parents with substance abuse problems.
      • 80% of children in foster care 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 youth in the juvenile justice system are substance-involved.

      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.

      addiction-words challengeyronline3

      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)                                                                

      The Master of Social Work program housed in the University of Akron offers an array of Behavioral Healthcare clinical electives. Included in these options are five (5) courses designed to meet 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.)

      • Foundation in Addiction Studies, 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, 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, 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, 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, 655 (2 credits)
        Explores effects of psychoactive drugs of abuse and principles of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of substance use disorders. Additional points of consideration:
        • Taking all (5) classes will ensure an LICDC application meets the content area requirements- even if they have taken no other addictions/ clinical courses (e.g., Macro focus students)
        • Some students may not need to take all five (5) classes, dependent on whether the content areas were completed elsewhere in the MSW curriculum.
        • Presently the Ohio Chemical Dependency Licensure Board defines an eligible master’s degree as having a minimum of 40 credit hours. Advance Standing Students are only required to take 36 hours; four (4) short of this requirement. Advanced standing students seeking an LICDC are advised to take the additional 4 Credit SWK653 Evidence Based practice for Addictions Course offered in Spring Semester.
          • The newly proposed Ohio House Bill 452 aims to simplify the LICDC application process and revise language in Ohio Administrative Code to recognize Social Work Advanced Standing programs as meeting the definition of a master’s program. If passed, the additional 4 credit hour course will not be necessary.
        F or more information, please contact Prof. John M. Ellis at

        Click here for a Chemical Dependency Specific Education Grid (graduate)

      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.