Alabama sponsoring substance abuse recovery apprenticeship program

Denny Chimes University Of Alabama

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Jacyn Abbott

The University of Alabama is taking action in the battle against opioid addiction by making it easier for people to train for jobs in behavioral health and substance abuse recovery.

UA is now sponsoring a Behavioral Health Paraprofessional Registered Apprenticeship Program through the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, meaning the college will provide instruction for the program designed to train paraprofessionals in behavioral health and substance abuse recovery. Paraprofessionals are not licensed to practice as fully qualified professionals, but their skills are integral in ensuring patients get the care they need.

UA College of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Mercy Mumba is responsible for establishing UA as the apprenticeship sponsor, and said having a peer specialist increases an addict’s changes of a full recovery.

“There is a lot of need related to paraprofessionals and mental health providers in general, and we feel training more peer supporters specialists is really filling that gap in our state,” said Mumba.

The two-prong course partners with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and outpatient treatment center Pathway Health Care.

The program’s goal is:

  • To enhance the quality of training for behavioral health-related paraprofessionals
  • Increase the number of behavioral health-related paraprofessionals in the state
  • Lessen the impact of substance use disorders on individuals and their families
  • Improve the network of organizations providing substance use services to individuals and their families

The program is looking for members of the community who have recovered from substance abuse and want to help others.

This course will be complemented while employed with a community partner and with on-the-job training.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 768 people died in 2019 of a drug overdose in Alabama.

Applicants do not have to go through UA’s enrollment process. Instead, there will be a specialized portal for applicants through the UA College of Continuing Studies starting in mid-November.

The program launches in January.

denny chimes university of alabama

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