By MARIA KANSO, Staff Reporter
To strengthen the importance of helping those who struggle with addictions, the University of Michigan-Dearborn opened the new Addictions Studies Certificate Program during the fall semester of 2015.
The Chair of Health and Human Services, Juliette Roddy, is also a professor in UM-Dearborn’s Masters in Public Policy Program, the Masters in Health Information Technology program and the Health Policy Studies program.
Roddy started this program as a result of her passion for addiction studies and participation in several research programs, including the testing rational models for the addiction on cigarettes and treating heroin addicts at an opiate treatment clinic.
“We need to be more aware of the problems associated with drugs and alcohol so that we can reduce societal harms,” Roddy said. “I expect a more empathetic community with regard to our feelings toward those who have the disease of addiction.”
What deeply triggered Roddy’s curiosity was how drug addicts could continue with their addictions or even finance them. She continued her studies on people with addictions, including those who use injection drugs and those who use crack.
Upon becoming Chair of Health and Human Services, she decided to use her experience with addiction studies. As a result, the department of Health and Human Services created the Addictions Studies Certificate Program.
The program can be characterized in both Criminal Justice Studies and Health and Human Services. The 18-credit certificate gives students the chance to acquire counseling skills, as well as ways to identify and treat substance abuse.
The certificate helps individuals acquire strong administrative skills coupled with elaborate ways of dealing with clients, including identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a client, creating a treatment plan, suggesting what sources should be used and helping the client find an alternative after making him or her see the problem and understand its consequences.
Also, case management skills and the ability to report and keep record are crucial benefits upon earning the certificate.
Because this is a certificate program, students who are still in recovery can enroll without having to meet any enrollment criteria, such as GPA or SAT/ACT score.
“It is very exciting to think of the potential dynamic that can occur in an environment like that. I have learned more about addiction from both current and former addicts than I can possibly express,” Roddy said.
Joseph Popa, a current accounting student at UM-Dearborn, is enrolled in the program. After coming from the Iraq war, Popa was addicted to both alcohol and opiums.
“Coming from my experience, I think I can offer a unique feedback because a lot of the counselors don’t have actual experience,” said Popa. “A lot of the times it’s [the addict’s] responsibility, they want to seek the help. It’s not my responsibility to go up to somebody and fix them if they don’t want to be fixed.”