Oklahoma Moves to Tighten Drug and Alcohol Counseling Requirements

Requirements for drug and alcohol counselors who work at drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities in Oklahoma might become stricter if a proposal in the state legislature becomes law. According to The Oklahoman, the new rules would place more stringent requirements on the people who are intimately involved in the rehabilitation of patients.

Under the proposed law, only “licensed alcohol and drug counselors with a master’s degree and those working under supervision for being licensed” would be able to provide assessments, oversee treatment plans or give psychotherapy at a drug addiction center. Currently, certified counselors who only have a bachelor’s degree can perform those duties.

However, critics of the proposal fear that it would make it even more difficult for patients to get addiction treatment as it would limit the number of professionals who could provide them with help.

“It would make a waiting list even longer,” said Ric Pierson, executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors. “The waiting can take up to six weeks already, and that’s with about 10 percent of people who need treatment actually being treated.”