AffiliationBritish Columbia Centres on Substance Use, School of Medicine, University College Dublin
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CitationCody Callon, Harvey Bosma & Jan Klimas (2018) Addiction Social Work Fellowship Program in Canada, Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 18:3, 332-337
DescriptionSubstance use disorders (SUD) disproportionally contribute to the global social and economic cost of disease (Rehm et al., 2009). Lifetime prevalence of SUDs in the Canadian population is estimated to be 21.9% for tobacco use disorder, 18.1% for alcohol use disorder, 6.8% for cannabis use disorder, and 4% for substance use disorder related to other drugs (Pearson, Janz & Ali, 2013). In British Columbia, illicit drug-related deaths have been steadily on the rise, resulting in the Provincial Medical Health Officer in April 2016 declaring a public health emergency in response to increasing overdoses and overdose-related deaths (British Columbia Coroners Service, 2017; BCCDC, 2017). The economic costs of SUDs in Canada are enormous, as they are one of the leading preventable causes of death and disability in the country (Rehm et al., 2006). In spite of this, and similar to the situation in U.S., the treatment of SUDs has been inadequate in large part due to an enduring research-to-practice gap in which competencies for treating and preventing SUDs are often lacking in social work education curricula (CASA, 2000). For example, in 2009 an examination of social work curricula at all 35 accredited schools of Social Work in Canada found that addictions courses were restricted to elective offerings at all schools, and only one third of the courses included the core practice competencies developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (Graves, Csiernik, Foy, & Cesar, 2009).