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Humans of the U: Abigail Márquez-González

“I am a licensed clinical social worker and was already working in the behavioral health space, providing therapeutic services and connecting clients to resources. But I felt like there were gaps. Even with a master’s degree, I was missing a depth of knowledge about substance use disorders. When my agency, Utah Partners for Health, decided to start providing medication-assisted treatment, I knew I needed more specialized training.

The Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training Certificate Program at the U really enriched my life as a service provider. A lot of the time, it seems like our clients know more about the drugs than we do. Things like street names, routes of administration and the effects. Learning all that through the program was so valuable, especially learning about brain neurochemistry and how different substances function and impact the brain, as well as harm reduction techniques. A number of my classmates were in recovery from substance use disorders, and listening to their experiences really helped me understand the human element. I felt like I ‘got it’ in a way I had not before.

Now, in my apprenticeship, I can educate clients about the impact of illegal substance on their health, social systems, financial well-being and other areas of life; for instance, helping a client understand what crystal meth does to the brain and what changes they can make to try to minimize the harm. I can connect with their suffering and provide hope, resources and treatment to them and their families. Working in an apprenticeship has enhanced my confidence and performance as a substance use disorder counseling professional, and has been an excellent supplement to my education at the U.”

— Abigail Márquez-González, 2022 Substance Use Disorder Treatment Training Certificate Program graduate