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Improving Substance Use Prevention and Treatment: International Efforts

March 20, 2019

Kim Johnson

Executive Director

Did you know that there is an international effort to improve the quality of substance use prevention and treatment through workforce and infrastructure development? The Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) supports a series of efforts in developing countries to do work much like the ATTC does in the United States. They are helping developing countries create infrastructure for certification and licensure, develop education and training systems for workforce development, and link people who work in the field all over the world through engagement in education and social networks that cross national boundaries.

Global Center for Credentialing and Certification 

First, there is the Global Center for Credentialing and Certification (formerly ICCE) that provides testing and credentialing services for individuals and countries that want to establish standards of care. The treatment certifications have reciprocity with NAADAC. You can find more information about them at: NAADAC.ORG/Colombo-plan and at the ISSUP page, The Global Centre for Credentialing and Certification. People with a NAADAC credential can have deemed status and receive the comparable ICAP credential. Find out more at the ISSUP page, Credentialing and Certification Examination

International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP)

Second, there is the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) that is designed to be a place to link to other people who work in any aspect of substance use prevention, treatment, recovery, research all over the world. ISSUP will soon be linking the ATTC HealtheKnowledge portal  of online training and education to a global audience. ISSUP membership is free and it links you to other people who are trying to solve the same problems that you are in countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. The goal is to support evidence-based practice in addressing substance use issues and mutual problem solving by international peers.

International Consortium of Universities for Drug Demand Reduction (ICUDDR) 

Finally, there is the project that I am now heading up: The International Consortium of Universities for Drug Demand Reduction (ICUDDR). ICUDDR brings together universities to develop and improve upon their degree programs or courses in what is internationally called drug demand reduction. We have 160 member universities from countries in every part of the world. Many of them are using and adapting curricula created by international researchers and educators including ATTC leadership. The curricula are called the Universal Prevention Curriculum and the Universal Treatment Curriculum (UPC and UTC).

In my work as executive director of ICUDDR I have traveled to Thailand to host a meeting of 13 universities from 11 Asian countries; Brazil to meet with universities developing prevention education programs, Kenya to meet with 40 universities from all over Africa to organize a continental effort to develop education programs, and to the Philippines to talk to universities there about how to adapt curricula to be more culturally appropriate. If you want to see where I am next, follow me on Twitter: @icuddr

Cusco, Peru

Interested in joining a global workforce?

If becoming part of a global workforce to address substance use and addiction excites you, please check out the websites in this blog post, become a member of ISSUP or ICUDDR and perhaps attend one of our conferences. ISSUP will hold a conference in Vienna July 1-5 and they are still accepting abstracts! ICUDDR will host its annual meeting in Cusco, Peru July 21-23. It will be high season for visiting Machu Picchu, so if you want to come to the ICUDDR meeting, register soon.  I would love to see more of you engaged in this very exciting global effort.

About our Guest Blogger

Kimberly A. Johnson, is the executive director of the International Consortium of Universities for Drug Demand Reduction and an associate research professor at the University of South Florida. Prior to her move to Florida, she served for two years as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, a U.S. federal government agency.

Dr. Johnson has worked as an associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where her projects included studies on mobile apps for behavior change, quality improvement in care development and acting as the co-director of the national coordinating office of the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers and as co-deputy director of NIATx. She received funding from multiple NIH centers, AHRQ, SAMHSA and several foundations. She has also served as the state of Maine single state authority for substance abuse, and as the executive director of a substance abuse treatment agency. In her early career, Dr. Johnson was a child and family therapist and managed treatment and prevention programs.

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