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Indiana Opioid Crisis Highlights Shortage Of Social Workers

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Photo: U.S. Marine Corps (Wikimedia Commons)

University officials say there are shortages in social workers who deal with mental health, addictions, child welfare and medical social work.

University officials say Indiana’s opioid crisis has exacerbated a shortage of social workers in the state.

Michael Patchner is the dean of Indiana University’s School of Social Work. He tells the Journal Gazette that there are shortages in social workers who deal with mental health, addictions, child welfare and medical social work.

Tom Allman manages addiction services at nonprofit addiction treatment facility Park Center. He says the opiate crisis has highlighted the shortage of addiction therapists that’s been happening for some time.

Barb J. Burdge, social work program director at Manchester University, says agencies that haven’t had to address addiction are now faced with the issue.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that social worker employment will grow by 19 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Correction: Michael Patchner was previously named as the dean of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’s School of Social Work. Patchner is the dean of Indiana University’s School of Social Work.

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