ATTC Releases Findings from SUD Workforce Study

ATTC Network Releases Findings From a Five Year Study of the Substance Use Disorders Workforce


KANSAS CITY, MO, October 10, 2012 - A lack of nationally representative data describing the specialty workforce that serves individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) has inhibited the ability of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other federal agencies to institute meaningful workforce development programs for SUD professionals. 


In response, SAMHSA instructed the 2007-2012 Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network to carry out a national workforce survey. The overall goal of this project, entitled Vital Signs: Taking the Pulse of the Addiction Treatment Profession, was to identify strategies to successfully prepare, recruit and retain a sufficient number of professionals able to effectively care for individuals with substance use disorders. Now, after several years of carefully designing, developing and implementing the study with limited funding, the ATTC Network is proud to release the much-anticipated national findings.


In the national Vital Signs report, the ATTC Network provides a unique picture of the state of the SUD treatment field and taps into the considerable experience and expertise of clinical directors and thought leaders from across the country to illustrate the challenges that lay ahead for the field as well as the ways that the workforce will change to remain viable in the future.


The potential impact of this report is significant. As explained by Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Executive Director, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDDD), “The Vital Signs report is a landmark study critically needed to help us plan for the future. It not only identifies current problems with recruitment and retention, but also the enormous challenges we will face in the SUD field as we implement Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Insurance Exchanges. My hope is that it will galvanize the field to action on our human resource and leadership needs.”


The ATTC Network concludes this important national report with action steps, suggested by the study data, which will move the workforce forward so that quality care of SUDs can be assured for all Americans.


The national Vital Signs report was recently submitted to SAMHSA and is available on the ATTC Network website at In addition to the national report, each of the 2007-2012 ATTC Regional Centers submitted region-specific reports to SAMHSA in late September 2012.