ELIZABETHTON, TENN. (WJHL) – As deaths from drug overdoses continue to rise in the region, Milligan College is building onto the school’s Master of Science in Counseling program to include addiction counseling.
The college will begin to offer the addictions counseling concentration beginning this fall, and Milligan President Bill Greer said interest in the program spiked preceding its implementation.
Graduates of the new concentration will be qualified for licensure as addictions counselors, and current licensed clinical mental health counselors can add on the addictions subspeciality though the program in two semesters.
He added that Ballad Health and the BlueCross Health Foundation partnered with the college to develop the curriculum for the concentration.
“We have a curriculum that’s been designed that we will be continuing to enhance and tweak as we begin to launch the program, recruit our first students, hire additional faculty who are specialists in that field to make it the best program that it can be,” he said.
Data from the National Institutes of Health shows Tennessee prescribes more opioids than most states in the country – at 94.4 prescriptions per 100 people, Tennessee is the third-highest state in the country for opioid prescriptions.
There were 1,269 overdose deaths involving opioids in Tennessee in 2017 — a rate of 19.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. The national rate is 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
“What was the driving force of launching the program is just the percentage of individuals in the region who are addicted to opioids or some other drug in one way or another,” Greer said. “It was just important to us to be able to positively impact their lives in this region.”
Learn more about Milligan’s counseling program at milligan.edu/msc.