Overview of the University-Based Addiction Studies Programs in the United States

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Academic program, addiction studies, certification, degree, university

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Background: The field of addiction studies (AS) has grown in the last several decades. However, little is known about the structure and conditions of current academic programs. Only two studies have examined AS programs in the U.S., and both were conducted almost 15 years ago. The current study was designed to identify AS programs existing in the U.S. universities.

Methods: We conducted an Internet search to identify university-based programs according to defined key words. The university program websites were then subjected to content analysis.

Results: A total of 333 U.S. universities were identified that offered 392 different academic programs in AS of which 302 were degree programs. Out of these, 161 (53%) programs were offered at the associate degree level, 48 (15,9%) at the bachelor’s level, 55 (18.2%) at the master’s level, and 5 (1.6%) at the doctorate level. The largest number of programs was in California. Two states in the U.S. had no identifiable programs. Only one university located in the state of New York offered comprehensive academic programs across the educational spectrum. Many of the academic programs offered certificates. The most common phrases used in program titles were “substance abuse”, “addiction studies/counseling”, and “chemical dependency”.

Conclusions: There is a wide range of academic AS programs in the U.S., although their focus is mostly on clinical training rather than on research or drug policy. Future surveys such as this one would benefit from greater attention to issues related to certification, licensing, and academic curricula.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Substance Use, v. 24, issue 1, p. 55-60