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Salve Regina to offer RI’s only advanced graduate certificate program in substance abuse and treatment

Responding to the growing need for trained counselors in substance abuse and treatment, both nationally and in Rhode Island, Salve Regina University has developed a new Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in substance abuse and treatment. It is the only advanced graduate certificate program of its kind in the state.

“There is a compelling need for professionals to provide mental health counseling in substance abuse treatment, which goes beyond the master’s level counselor education training,” said Nancy Gordon, chair and director of the university’s holistic studies department.”

The new program is designed for individuals interested in completing the continuing education units (CEUs) needed to meet national certification standards and Rhode Island state licensing requirements. To earn this certificate, students must successfully complete four courses (12 credits) on topics related to substance abuse, treatment and chemical dependency.

Students who wish to enter this program must have a master’s degree in mental health counseling or equivalent master’s degree in health care or other behavioral degree programs from an accredited institution.

Substance abuse issues are becoming more evident as a pressing social issue. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), reports that 1 in 4 adults in the country are impacted by the effects of substance abuse.

The Rhode Island Department of Health says the state is in the midst of a severe prescription and street-drug overdose crisis. The number of overdose deaths in the state has risen to 75 since the start of 2014.

While many law enforcement agencies have begun to carry “overdose kits” packed with naloxone, a drug that reverses opiate overdoses, state officials are stressing that substance abuse treatment is what is most critical in the long-term.

Enrollment is currently underway for the CAGS program, which will be offered in the evenings on Salve Regina’s Newport campus.

For more information, visit the graduate studies website at or the program site at: