Drug epidemic increases need for Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors

The facts are clear, and very disturbing — the region’s drug epidemic is worsening by the day. In fact, during a recent 24-hour period, 10 heroin overdoses were reported in Western New York.

“With the increase in drug addiction comes the need for more qualified healthcare professionals to help handle the problem,” said Monica Farrar, director of The Resource Training Center in Amherst. The nonprofit organization offers the 350 hours of chemical dependency education required by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to become a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). They also offer individual classes for those who are re-credentialing.

“A Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor is a person who provides alcohol and substance abuse counseling services,” said Farrar. “Alcohol and substance abuse affect all populations. CASACs work in social services, healthcare, education, mental health and even in corporate settings. CASACs are trained in diagnostic assessment, evaluation, intervention, referral, and alcoholism and/or substance abuse counseling in both individual and group settings.”

The Resource Training Center has been providing CASAC training and numerous other programs in Buffalo since 2008. The organization also offers Alive at 25, a program that teaches young drivers to change their approach to driving; Recovery Coach, a peer mentoring program; and the Drinking Driver Program, part of New York State’s effort to reduce the personal and property losses caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The next CASAC training class begins on Jan. 12, 2016, and is offered over an 11-1/2-month period.

“We typically have people attend CASAC training with all different levels of education, from a high school diploma to a master’s degree, and from all socioeconomic classes,” Farrar added. “Addiction knows no boundaries. We have family members that won’t necessarily work as counselors but want to better understand addiction as it has touched their lives. We also welcome people in recovery who now want to help others.”

The Resource Training Center is located in the Harlem Road Community Center at 4255 Harlem Road, Amherst. For more information, please call 983-2258, email info@wnyresourcetraining.org or visit www.wnyresourcetraining.org. You can also follow The Resource Training Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/The-Resource-Training-Center/112019195650348 or Twitter (@monica_farrar).

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