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Substance Use and Addiction Specialist Program

The Substance Use and Addiction Specialist (SUAS) program offers a research- and practice-based program of study in problematic substance use, substance addiction and behavioral addiction. The program is designed to prepare social work professionals to work with clients who have co-occuring diagnoses and/or substance use and behavioral addictions.

View or download the SUAS brochure.

SUAS meets all of the educational requirements and 50 percent of the clinical requirements for the Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) credential, which is administered by the NC Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB). Both current MSW students and social work practitioners who have already earned the MSW degree are eligible to enroll in SUAS.

MSW students who complete SUAS will graduate with a specialty in Substance Use and Addictions and will be eligible for the LCAS-Associate designation. They will be eligible for reduced requirements for the LCAS after one year of post-graduate clinical practice.

Social work practitioners who complete SUAS will have fulfilled the LCAS requirement for 180 hours of specific education and will be eligible to apply for the LCAS credential administered by NCSAPPB.

The SUAS curriculum includes four required courses, one elective course, and a field practicum. SUAS courses are counted as part of the student’s overall credit hours earned for the MSW degree. Students register for SUAS courses as they would register for any course at UNC-Chapel Hill.

How to Apply for SUAS

UNC School of Social Work MSW students who wish to enroll in the SUAS program must complete the SUAS Student Application no later than Feb. 10 of the student’s generalist year. Students will need to accompany the application with a resume and a $25 processing fee mailed to:

Substance Use & Addiction Specialist Program
SSW / Behavioral Health Springboard
UNC-Chapel Hill
325 Pittsboro Street CB #3550
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3550

The SUAS Q&A document provides answers to many of the most common questions students have about the program.


Michael McGuire, SUAS Director, 919-962-6517
Erica Desiderio, SUAS Student Liaison, 919-843-3010

The UNC School of Social Work SUAS program was introduced 25 years ago and was one of the first programs of its kind in North Carolina. Currently, SUAS is administered through the School’s Behavioral Health Springboard program and is partially funded by the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Fund (CFDA #93.959) as a project of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.