Monday, August 28, 2017

Fighting Opioid Epidemic with Education

Ad for new classes.  Image of Dr.  Kirk Bowden.  Text: ONLINE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & CONTINUING EDUCATION NEW! Non-Credit Seminars* Seminars are online $89 per seminar (15 CE's) Developed & instructed by addictions professionals Work at own pace Online certificates and degrees also available. For a complete list of seminars visit  LEARN MORE TODAY!480-384-9990.  Images of Rio Salado and Maricopa Community Colleges logos. Text: Rio Salado College is a regionally accredited institution and is acredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). Online classes may have in-person components, testing requirements, block calendar guidelines and require proof of legal residency. Payment plan options and financial aid are available to those who qualify. The Maricopa Community Colleges are EEO/AA Institutions.

Rio Salado and Dr. Kirk Bowden Develop Online Continuing Education Seminars for Counselors

Continuing education for addictions and counseling professionals is essential-- especially now, as the United States faces an opioid epidemic and is looking to the addictions and counseling profession for answers on how to resolve this national crisis.

Rio Salado College is offering a series of non-credit, online seminars to help addictions and counseling professionals stay informed about the latest industry developments and strategies, and meet continuing education requirements. 

Visit for a full listing of current offerings.
image of a group in therapy

The 20 seminars focus on topics such as treatments for stimulant use disorders, adolescent substance use disorders, domestic violence and addictions, intervention and treatment for substance use disorders and professional ethics. There are also a series of seminars focusing on eating disorders and behavioral addictions.

Mental health professionals who are providing supervision in academic, training and treatment sites will find ASD285JJ - The Clinical Supervision Training of Supervisors seminar of interest. The seminar reviews the latest legislative initiatives regarding mandated supervisory training, contemporary theory and research regarding best practices in clinical supervision, the identification and development of competencies for supervisees and supervisors and clinical supervision training of supervisors.

When counselors are unaware or ignore cultural differences, they risk the growth of misunderstanding and mistrust. Seminar ASD285II - Multicultural Aspects examines cultural competencies and how human differences affect the counseling relationship. The seminar will address the implications of chemical use/abuse/addiction on multicultural and diverse populations and give participants a chance to explore a variety of cultures with compassion and curiosity. This course will also include three contact hours of professional ethics.

Rio Salado offers 45+ Monday start dates so participants can enroll in courses throughout the year. The cost is $89 per course.  Many seminars have 4, 8 and 14-week completion options and most textbook and course materials are available at no or low cost (<$40). Many seminars do not require additional course materials.

Photo of Dr. Bowden

The seminars were developed under the direction of Rio Salado’s Faculty Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program Kirk Bowden, MAC, NCC, LPC; a well-known industry leader. Rio Salado is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders.

Bowden works with a team of Rio Salado faculty, who are also experts in the field, to create engaging educational content to help professionals stay relevant, informed and connected.

“We have an obligation as addictions and behavioral counseling professionals to stay informed, share news, network and help create solutions,” said Bowden. “These seminars were designed with that in mind.”
Bowden has served as the 2014-16 President for NAADAC, as Grand Canyon University’s Chair of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders program and Director of the Department of Professional Counseling and Addiction Studies, President of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education and chair of the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC), which accredits college and university addiction studies programs.

As a longtime advocate for continuing education and a proponent for establishing standards for addictions counselors and educators, Bowden has worked to create change in the classroom, through policy and by leading grass roots efforts. Among his priorities has been a call for state behavioral health regulatory/licensing boards to implement a requirement that behavioral health professionals have addiction-specific education and experience before practicing addiction counseling independently. Most states do not have this requirement.

Bowden has also served as the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Academic Review Committee (ARC) chair since 2015. The ARC is a crucial part of the board's licensing process, responsible for reviewing applications from individuals applying for licensure in Arizona. The ARC also reviews applications from regionally accredited colleges and universities for approval of their addiction counseling degree programs.

The American Psychological Association (APA) recognize Bowden this August with a 2017 Distinguish Career Contribution to Education and Training award for the contributions he has made to the field of addiction science education throughout his career.

“The people of this country need to be protected and deserve to have counselors who are educated, well-informed and knowledgeable about the latest issues, treatments and news about addiction treatment and recovery,” said Bowden. “Rio Salado’s online seminars and flexible start dates make this education affordable and accessible to a greater number of professionals across the country.”

image of a highway.  "Recovery" is etched into it.

While Rio Salado seminars are designed to help addiction and counseling professionals meet their continuing education requirements, they are also available to the public-- giving practitioners a resource to share with the communities they serve.
“Many of our students are parents, teachers and social workers, who, through their daily lives and jobs, encounter people with addiction issues,” Bowden said. “They complete our seminars and courses for a variety of reasons. As such, we are committed to providing quality instruction that will educate and empower professionals and students alike,” said Bowden.
Bowden was invited to join the American Counseling Association (ACA) government affairs staff as a panelist for a Congressional briefing on opioid use disorders on April 4 in Washington, D.C. Among his responsibilities was to give insight into the experience of being an addictions and substance use disorders professional; address some of the challenges industry professionals face and discuss what types of legislation will help counseling professionals strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. Bowden also emphasized the need for quality education for professionals and those affected by addiction. Watch the hearing now.

abstract photo of a dictionary.  the word help is highlighted.
“We have had an ongoing problem with addiction in this country, but nothing like this opioid epidemic," said Bowden.

"The people of this country need our help so it’s up to us to lead the charge to resolve this conflict by staying informed and relevant, by increasing awareness about the importance of counseling and empowering the people we serve with information and resources to overcome addiction,” said Bowden.

For more information about Rio Salado’s Behavioral Health/Addictions and Substance Use Disorders programs, visit or call an academic advisor at 480-517-8580.