The Central Rockies ATTC is managed by the Utah Addiction Center at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Through a collaborative partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Iowa, the Central Rockies ATTC facilitates workforce development for treatment professionals providing training and technical assistance on evidence-based practices, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Blending Products and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Initiatives.


University of Utah's School of Dentistry trains dental students to identify early signs of substance abuse in patients.


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Addiction Field Workforce

Recent Legislation and Implication on Substance Use Treatment

The Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Equity Act will allow greater access to substance use treatment services. The increase in coverage raises questions on whether the addiction workforce can meet the demand for treatment. Research findings indicate annual turnover within the addiction field is anywhere between 18.5% - 50% (Eby, Burk & Maher, 2010; Ryan, Murphy & Krom, 2012) and further highlight the concern for development and maintenance of the addiction field workforce.

Recruitment and Retention of the Workforce

In the 2012 national workforce study conducted by the ATTC Network, three barriers were reported for staff replacement. These included insufficient number of applicants who meet minimum qualifications, insufficient funding for open positions, and lack of interest in position due to salary (Ryan, Murphy & Krom, 2012). Furthermore, focused efforts to train replacements for the 60% of clinical directors that are over the age of 50 (Ryan, Murphy, & Krom, 2012) is also a concern.

SAMHSA utilizes several programs to address the mentioned concerns. Fellowships such as the Prevention Fellowship Program and Minority Fellowship Program provided by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Center for Mental Health Services allow for recruitment of individuals in their early career. Secondly, SAMHSA’s Cooperative Agreement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and training of peer providers nourishes diversification of the workforce.

Central Rockies Region of the ATTC Network

Region eight of the ATTC Network (i.e. Colorado, North and South Dakota, Montana, Utah and Wyoming) ranges from 20 to just fewer than 40 in number of treatment providers per 1,000 adults with addiction. These numbers are based on Jeff Zornitsky’s “provider availability index.”

Additional information concerning behavioral health workforce development

Additional information concerning the provider availability index and the addiction workforce

Access to the national workforce study



Eby, L. T., Burk, H., & Maher, C. P. (2010). How serious of a problem is staff turnover in substance abuse treatment? A longitudinal study of actual turnover. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 39(3), 264-271. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2010.06.009

Ryan, O., Murphy, D., Krom, L. (2012). Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of the Addiction Treatment Workforce, A National Report, Version 1. Kansas City, MO: Addiction Technology Transfer Center National Office in residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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