RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Commonwealth University has created a new noncredit continuing education program focused on addiction studies.

The program will unite addiction counseling professionals with professionals in health, law and education, along with community members who have personal experience with addiction.

Participants can earn a certificate in Addiction Studies. The certificate is not for college credit, but can be applied toward the education requirement for certification as a substance abuse counselor through the Virginia Board of Counseling. The courses are also approved as continuing education credits from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and the Association for Addiction Professionals.

In 2016, state Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine declared the opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency in Virginia.