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Nine graduate from Florida Addictions Institute; Students possess mix of backgrounds

By Staff | Sep 25, 2008

The Florida Addictions Institute, a school that trains students to be certified addiction counselors, held its graduation ceremony Wednesday night in Cape Coral.

Keral Kronseder Vogt, executive director of the institute, said there are nine graduates this year who will help more than 100 families overcome addiction and go on to lead productive, drug-free lives.

Once enrolled in the yearlong institute, students receive addiction training in the classroom, as well as develop hands-on counseling skills and have vital interactions between students and faculty.

She said the institute follows an adult learner model where classes are held on the evenings and weekends so students will not be burdened between their current employment and the class schedule.

Those who attend the institute are from various backgrounds. Some are currently counselors who wish to receive an additional certification, while others are from different professions who wish to switch careers and become addiction counselors.

Students take nine classrooms and three hands-on courses, all certified by the Florida Certification Board. Class topics include treatment, effects of dependency, substance abuse and the family, diagnoses and approaches to counseling.

“This is an enormous benefit in the community,” said Vogt. “This is the state’s only type of (addiction) education that provides comprehensive, coordinated courses to prepare people to be addictions counselors.”

National statistics state that one in every 10 people have problems with addiction at some time in their lives. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reported that if current drug use rates continue, the demand for treatment will double by 2020.

Officials from The Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida report that there is a shortage of trained counselors to help people with addictions. According to the 2006 Florida Workforce Group Report, for every two addiction professionals there are at least two job openings available.

“The picture is clear,” said Vogt. “The combination of an increased demand for treatment, but a retiring work force, is expected to create a staggering need for substance abuse counselors.”

This month the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reported that prescription drug abuse had increased 12 percent for adolescents and young adults, and illicit drug abuse among adults ages 55 to 59 doubled in 2007.

For information about the Florida Addictions Institute, visit: www.fladdictionsinstitute.org.