Northern Essex to Offer Weekend Programs to Tackle Drug Addiction

Brian MacKenna-Rice, coordinator of the Northern Essex Community College’s Human Services Program. (Courtesy photograph.)

In an attempt to train more people to tackle drug addiction, Northern Essex Community College is expanding two human services certificate programs— Alcohol and Drug Counseling and the Community Support Practitioner—with weekend-only classes.

The new 10-month, three-semester Alcohol and Drug Counseling Certificate and the Community Support Practitioner Certificate will offer a morning and afternoon class or practicum each Saturday and Sunday for the fall and spring semesters and one morning practicum during the summer semester as well as two online courses. Classes will be offered on the Haverhill campus.

“There is a great need for educated, experienced clinicians to address the ongoing, growing scourge of substance use, especially the opiate and synthetic opiate crisis that is causing so much grief and loss, which affects our national health, our economy, and our family and social fabric in a very unhealthy and devastating way,” said Brian MacKenna-Rice, coordinator of the college’s Human Services Program. “In addition, baby boomers are retiring. There is an employment void to fill.”

The weekend program was designed, in part, to accommodate individuals already working in the human services field, both entry level and higher, who have expressed interest in becoming licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor or completing the community practitioner certificates, but are constrained by work hours from attending NECC during the week, MacKenna-Rice explained.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate prepares individuals to work as substance abuse counselors in residential programs, shelters, correctional facilities, hospitals, outpatient programs and sober homes. Individuals preferring to help provide direct client services in residential or community-based programs choose the Community Support Human Services Practitioner Certificate.

“Northern Essex recognizes that alcohol and drug addiction is a major public health problem in America,” he said.

Northern Essex will continue to offer both certificate programs during the day as well. Credits from both certificate programs can be transferred into Northern Essex Associate of Science in Human Services degree program.