By Kim Johnson, ICUDDR
There is a lot of talk about addiction treatment quality these days. You may have seen the
international standards document.
The standards are for treatment systems of care based on seven key principles.
You are probably also aware of the GCCC’s competency-based certification process which includes
testing to demonstrate knowledge and required field experience to demonstrate skills in providing
addiction treatment https://www.globalccc.org/. Getting an ICAP credential may be a useful goal for
your students in addiction studies programs.
ICUDDR began a process last fall to develop education standards for programs that train the addiction
workforce. The work group has had three meetings and has now broken into two working groups. There
are two research tasks that are underway. The first is to document and crosswalk national standards
from as many countries as we can find. We are trying to see if there are industry specific education
standards. The answer seems to be mostly no – no government or outside body has requirements for
what universities teach in regards to addiction. We are also cataloguing whether there are provider
standards similar to GCCC that the government requires for certification or licensure as an addiction
specialist. We will develop a crosswalk of the national standards and the GCCC standards to find
common themes and elements.
The second study is to document what course content is already offered by universities. We are working
on developing a crosswalk of courses by title, and, where we can obtain them, learning objectives. Your
response to our member survey during the winter will be very helpful in this respect. We will use this
crosswalk as a baseline. Once we have these two studies completed, we will compare the content and
the work group will develop a draft set of guidelines that we will share with you for feedback. We expect
to host a series of discussions in 2022 and 2023 regarding the proposed standards.
The cataloguing of standards and courses is a little bit tedious, but necessary to develop a fair and
representative set of standards to which we can begin to hold ourselves to. It will be a great step
forward when we have a consensus document on what course content needs to be offered to people
who hope to work in this field.