FSW Human Services Program Addressing the National Addiction Crisis

Mar 13, 2017

MARCH 13, 2017 – FORT MYERS, FLA – According to the report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health by the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, “substance use disorders represent one of the most pressing public health crises of our time.” Whether it is the rapid rise of prescription opioid addiction or the longstanding challenge of alcohol dependence, substance misuse and substance use disorders prevent people from living healthy and productive lives. Just as importantly, they have profound effects on families, friends, and entire communities.

Florida SouthWestern State College’s (FSW) Social and Human Services program is responding to this national challenge with an academic rigor of courses recently approved by the Florida Certification Board. Students who complete specific courses are eligible to obtain state and international certifications that lead to specific employment in the workforce. According to the Southwest Florida Workforce Overview Study (2015), Social and Human Service Assistants ranks 35th in the top 50 employment gaps for Southwest Florida.

Students who complete the Addictions track of the associate degree or the 24-credit Certificate in Addiction Services will simultaneously complete the training requirements for a number of certifications through the Florida Certification Board such as the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC). Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree will meet the training requirements for the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) and the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium Alcohol & Drug Counseling (ADC).

Many courses in FSW’s Social and Human Services program are available fully online or offered in a blended online and classroom format. FSW also enjoys partnerships with a number of local agencies, providing residency opportunities for students to train alongside highly qualified Human Service professionals. The program can be completed in two years.

“Graduates of FSW’s degree and certificate programs will be key in addressing the addictions epidemic in Southwest Florida,” said Dr. Terry McVannel-Erwin, FSW Social and Human Services program coordinator and certified master’s level addiction professional.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell reports that substance misuse is a major public health challenge and a priority for our nation to address. Burwell expounds that the effects of substance use are cumulative and costly for our society, placing burdens on workplaces, the health care system, families, states and communities. Substance misuse and addiction are solvable problems. FSW’s Social and Human Services program is dedicated to being an integral part of the solution through the training of caring professionals ready to address this epidemic.

“Social and Human Services greatly enhances the diversity and totality of compassionate healthcare programs in the FSW School of Health Professions since addiction touches everyone, from the patient to the provider,” said Dr. Marie Collins, dean, FSW School of Health Professions.

The FSW Social and Human Services program is a member of the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) and supports the work of the Council in setting national standards for human service education. For more information, visit: https://www.fsw.edu/academics/programs/ashumanservices


Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW debuted its intercollegiate athletics program in January 2016. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.