Senate Bill No. 281
(By Senators Walker, Blatnik, Craigo, Bowman,
Jackson, Wooten, Macnaughtan)
[Introduced February 1, 1996; referred to the Committee
on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on
A BILL to amend chapter thirty of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article thirty-five,
relating to creating a self-supporting state board for
licensed alcohol and drug counselors; requiring a license to
practice; defining the scope of practice and related terms;
specifying board composition, powers, responsibilities and
operating procedures; establishing criteria and fees for
issuing, renewing and reinstating full and limited licenses
and temporary permits; creating misdemeanor penalties for
nonlicensure and other acts; exempting certain categories
from licensure; providing a grandfather clause; setting
standards for disciplinary action, license revocation and suspension and due process; and delineating exceptions.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter thirty of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article thirty-five, to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 35. BOARD OF LICENSED ALCOHOL AND DRUG COUNSELORS.
§30-35-1. License required to practice.
The practice of professional alcohol and drug counseling is
hereby declared to protect the public health, safety and welfare,
and to be subject to regulation in the public interest, and any
person practicing or offering to practice as a professional
alcohol and drug counselor is required to submit evidence that he
or she is qualified to practice, and is licensed as provided in
this article. The purpose of this act is to protect and benefit
the public by setting standards of qualifications, education,
training and experience for those who seek to obtain a license
and hold the title of licensed alcohol and drug counselor, to
promote high standards of professional performance for those
licensed to practice alcohol and drug counseling in the state of
West Virginia, to formulate reimbursement for alcohol and drug counseling for qualified and licensed professionals, and to
protect the public from unprofessional conduct by persons
licensed to practice alcohol and drug counseling.
After the thirtieth day of June, one thousand nine hundred
ninety-seven, it shall be unlawful for any person not licensed
under the provisions of this article to practice as a licensed
alcohol and drug counselor in this state, to deliver any portion
of the description of services or scope of practice, or to use
any title, sign, card or device to indicate that he or she is a
licensed alcohol and drug counselor. The provisions of this
article are not intended to limit, preclude or otherwise
interfere with the practice of other health care providers
including those health care providers working in any setting and
licensed by appropriate agencies or boards of the state of West
Virginia whose practices and training may include elements of the
same nature as the practice of a licensed alcohol and drug
(a) "Board" means the West Virginia board for licensed
alcohol and drug counselors;
(b) "Licensed alcohol and drug counselor" means a person who has demonstrated the highest competence in the field of alcohol
and drug counseling, who by virtue of this knowledge, training
and experience is uniquely able to inform, motivate, guide and
assist those persons, groups, organizations, corporations,
institutions or the general public who are affected either
directly or indirectly by problems related to the misuse of
alcohol and/or other drugs, and who holds a license issued under
this article to engage in the practice of alcohol and drug
(c) "International certification reciprocity
consortium/alcohol and other drug abuse" (ICRC/AODA) means an
organization that develops international uniformity certification
standards and procedures for alcohol and drug counselors.
(d) "Practice of alcohol and drug counseling" means
providing or offering to provide alcohol and drug counseling
services involving the application of the twelve core functions
as defined by the international certification reciprocity
(e) "Professional alcohol and drug counseling" means process
that involves the following key elements:
(1) To assist the client to recognize that misuse of alcohol and other drugs is self-destructive;
(2) To assist the client in gaining insight and motivation
to make a commitment to resolve the problems presented by taking
appropriate action relative to the misuse of alcohol and/or other
(3) To provide experience, professional guidance, assistance
and support for the client's efforts to establish a new lifestyle
and value system designated to eliminate the misuse of alcohol
and/or other drugs and the related problems; and
(4) To provide professional services similar to the above
for significant others in the life of the client. In this
process it is also a responsibility of the professional alcohol
and drug counselor to be able to recognize problems beyond the
scope of their training, skill or competency and be willing and
able to refer the client to other appropriate professional
§30-35-3. Board of alcohol and drug counselors.
(a) There is hereby created the West Virginia board of
alcohol and drug counselors. The board shall consist of nine
members, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of
the Senate and shall consist of one lay citizen member to represent the public sector; one medical physician; seven members
certified as addiction counselors and licensed under the
provisions of this article and engaged in the practice of
professional alcohol and drug counseling. All appointees shall
be citizens of the United States and practicing in this state.
The West Virginia association of alcohol and drug abuse
counselors board of directors shall make recommendations to the
governor regarding individuals to be considered for initial and
(b) The members of the board shall each serve terms that
commence on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred
ninety-six. Of the initial appointments to the board, two
certified addiction counselors shall serve for two-year terms,
one public sector member and two certified addiction counselors
shall serve for three-year terms and four certified addiction
counselors and one medical physician shall serve for four-year
terms. Thereafter, each appointment shall be for a four-year
term commencing upon the expiration of the term of his or her
previous term or of his or her predecessor's term. No member may
be appointed for more than three consecutive terms. Vacancies
shall be appointed by the governor from a list provided by the West Virginia association of alcohol and drug counselors board of
directors for the balance of an unexpired term.
(c) The governor may remove any member from the board for
neglect of any duty required by law or for incompetence or
unethical or dishonorable conduct.
§30-35-4. Organization and meetings of board; quorum; expenses.
(a) The board shall meet at least twice a year and elect
annually a chairperson and a vice chairperson from its members.
The board may hold other meetings during the year as the
chairperson or board deem necessary to transact its business.
(b) A majority, including the chair or vice chairperson,
constitutes a quorum at any meeting. A majority of the board is
required to take action by vote. The board members shall receive
travel and other necessary expenses actually incurred while
engaged in board activities. All reimbursement of expenses shall
be paid out of the board of licensed alcohol and drug counselors
fund created by the provisions of this article.
§30-35-5. Board responsibilities.
The board shall:
(a) Provide public notice to all agencies and persons
currently practicing or employing professional alcohol and drug counselors that a license is required to continue practicing as
a professional alcohol and drug counselor, after the thirtieth
day of June, one thousand nine hundred ninety-seven;
(b) Examine, license and renew the licenses of duly
(c) Maintain a current registry of persons licensed to
practice professional alcohol and drug counseling under this
article which contain information on the licensee's place of
employment, address, license number and the date of licensure;
(d) Cause the prosecution of all persons violating this
article, incurring any expenses necessary;
(e) Keep a record of all proceedings of the board and make
it available to the public for inspection during reasonable
(f) Conduct hearings on charges that subject a licensee to
disciplinary action and on the denial, revocation or suspension
of a license;
(g) Maintain an information registry of persons whose
licenses have been suspended, revoked or denied. The information
shall include the individual's name, social security number, type
and cause of action, date of board action, type of penalty incurred and the length of penalty. This information shall be
available for public inspection during reasonable business hours
and supplied to similar boards in other states upon request;
(h) Establish rules pursuant to the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code regarding relicensure and continuing
education requirements. Continuing education requirements shall
be established by the licensing board created by this article;
(i) Maintain continuing education records; and
(j) Approve the training, continuing education and
competency evaluation methods for licensed alcohol and drug
§30-35-6. Powers of the board; fund.
(a) The board may:
(1) Adopt rules pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-
nine-a of the code, as may be necessary to enable it to effect
the provisions of this article;
(2) Employ such personnel as necessary to perform the
functions of the board, including an administrative secretary,
and pay all personnel from the board of licensed alcohol and drug
(3) Establish relicensure requirements, rules of probation for licensees, and other procedures as deemed appropriate;
(4) Secure the services of resource consultants, as deemed
necessary by the board, who shall receive travel and other
necessary expenses, consistent with state laws and policies,
while engaged in consultative service to the board and who shall
be reimbursed exclusively from the board of alcohol and drug
(5) Fix appropriate and reasonable fees by legislative rule
for mandatory licensure, which shall be no greater than two
hundred dollars for initial licensure or one hundred fifty
dollars for annual license renewal. All fees shall be reviewed
periodically and modified as necessary.
(b) The board shall designate one person to accept and
deposit moneys paid to the board. The money so collected shall
be deposited with the treasurer of the state and credited to an
account to be know as the "board of licensed alcohol and drug
counselor's fund." Expenditures from the fund shall be for the
purposes set forth in this article and are not authorized from
collections but are to be made only in accordance with
appropriation by the Legislature and in accordance with
provisions of article three, chapter twelve of this code and upon
the fulfillment of the provisions set forth in article two,
chapter five-a of this code: Provided, That for the fiscal year
ending the thirtieth day of June, one thousand nine hundred
ninety-seven, expenditures are authorized from collections rather
than pursuant to an appropriation by the Legislature. No part of
the state's general revenue fund shall be expended to carry out
the purposes of this article.
(c) The board may contract with other state boards or state
agencies to share offices, personnel and other administrative
functions as authorized under this article.
§30-35-7. Issuance of license; renewal of license; renewal fee;
display of license.
(a) When the board finds that an applicant meets all of the
requirements of this article for a license to engage in the
practice of professional alcohol and drug counseling, it shall
forthwith issue to that person a license. Otherwise, the board
shall deny the application. The application is to be submitted
with a license fee of no greater than two hundred dollars.
(b) Every licensee shall renew his or her license every two
years on or before the first day of January of each year by
payment of a fee established by the board which shall be no greater than one hundred fifty dollars and by satisfying
continuing education requirements as set by the board. Any
license that is not so renewed shall automatically lapse. A
license which has lapsed may be renewed within two years of its
expiration date by meeting the requirements set forth by the
board and payment of a fee equal to that established for the
initial license. After the expiration of such two-year period,
a license may be renewed only by complying with the provisions
relating to the issuance of an original license.
(c) A person currently licensed to practice pursuant to this
article may apply for an inactive status by providing written
notice to the board and ceasing to engage in the practice of
professional alcohol and drug counseling in this state:
Provided, That the inactive status is granted for no longer than
two years. The board shall maintain a list of licensees on
inactive status. Any person granted inactive status is not
subject to the payment of any fees otherwise required by the
board. Prior to engaging in the practice of professional alcohol
and drug counseling, the person shall submit to the board an
application for the renewal of the license and payment of a
renewal fee for the current year.
(d) The board may deny any application for renewal of a
license for any reason which would justify the denial of an
original application for a license as specified by provisions of
(e) The board shall prescribe the form of licenses.
§30-35-8. Criteria for licensure.
(a) Upon payment of proper fees, an applicant for a license
to practice professional alcohol and drug counseling shall submit
to the board written evidence, verified by oath, that the
(1) Has a minimum of six years of qualifying experience.
This experience includes a combination of:
(A) Work experience:
(i) Specific to alcohol and drug. -- A minimum of three
years work experience either paid or voluntary, working directly
with the alcohol and drug client. This experience may include
both indirect and direct counselor core functions. Unsupervised
work experience may not be utilized for the requirements. Time
in excess of the three-year minimum may be utilized to meet the
six-year work experience requirement.
(ii) General work experience. -- General work experience, responsible employment or supervised volunteer work which
demonstrates the ability to work with people within a therapeutic
framework, up to a maximum of three years may be utilized to meet
the six-year requirement of qualifying experience. This can
include counseling with individuals with a variety of mental
health problems, working with therapeutic groups or providing
direct services to a human service organization.
(iii) Accredited degree work. -- A maximum of three years of
degree work from any academic college and university classes
which are part of or lead to the completion of an accredited
degree may be utilized to satisfy the six-year requirement of
qualifying experience. An application holding a baccalaureate
degree from an accredited university or college in the field of
behavioral science, which includes twenty semester hours of
alcohol and/or drug studies, may be credited with one of the
three years of experience required in (i) above. The academic
work shall include both graduate and/or undergraduate degrees in
the areas of psychology, social work, counseling, sociology,
health, education and must be supported by an official transcript
from the institution of higher learning.
(B) Education/training. -- A minimum of two hundred seventy hours of education relevant to alcohol and drug counseling
through accredited institutions of higher learning, workshops or
training programs sponsored by federal/state agencies,
professional associations or organizations whose function is to
foster alcohol and drug education. This training must be related
to the knowledge and skill base associated with the twelve core
functions as defined by the international certification
(C) Supervised practical experience: -- Applicants must
have completed a three hundred-hour supervised practical
experience which teaches the knowledge and skills of professional
alcohol and drug counseling. This supervised training must
include work experience in which there are defined learning goals
specifically related to the twelve core functions as defined by
the international certification reciprocity consortium. For a
completed practical experience it is required that there be a
minimum of ten hours of work experience in each of the twelve
core functions. This training must be documented and verified by
both applicant and supervisor of training.
(2) Can demonstrate competence in the core knowledge areas
that includes cognitive knowledge of communication theory, knowledge of alcohol and drug abuse, alcoholism and other drug
addictions, understanding the entire recovery/relapse process,
counseling techniques and treatment strategies, information and
referral. The core knowledge base shall be measured by a written
and oral interview administered by or contracted with an
organization approved by the board.
(3) Submits three evaluations from past or present work
supervisors or coworkers attesting to their qualities as a
(4) Subscribes to the board's adopted code of ethics.
(b) The board shall issue an appropriate license to an
individual who holds a current license or other credential from
another jurisdiction if the board finds that the requirements for
that credential are substantially similar to the requirements of
§30-35-9. Temporary permits.
Upon payment of the proper fee the board may issue a
temporary permit to practice professional alcohol and drug
counseling for a period of six months to an applicant who is
currently practicing, or has practiced within the last twelve
months in another state, territory or country, and is completing the requirements for licensing in this state.
§30-35-10. Prohibitions and penalties.
It is a misdemeanor for any person, including any
corporation or association, to:
(a) Sell or fraudulently obtain or furnish any professional
alcohol and drug counselor license or record or aid or abet
(b) Practice as a professional alcohol and drug counselor
under cover of any diploma, license or record illegally or
fraudulently obtained or signed or issued or under fraudulent
(c) Practice as a professional alcohol and drug counselor
unless duly licensed to do so under the provisions of this
(d) Use in connection with his or her name any designation
tending to imply that he or she is licensed to practice as a
professional alcohol and drug counselor unless duly licensed so
to practice under the provisions of this article;
(e) Practice as a professional alcohol and drug counselor
during the time his or her license issued under the provisions of
this article is suspended or revoked;
(f) Conduct a professional alcohol and drug counselor
licensing program for the preparation of professional alcohol and
drug counselors unless such program has been accredited by the
(g) Otherwise violate any provisions of this article.
Upon conviction, each misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of
not less than twenty-five nor more than two hundred fifty
§30-35-11. Grandfather clause.
(a) After the establishment of the board of alcohol and drug
counselors, a license shall be issued to the applicants who, on
the effective date of this article, have been certified by an
ICRC/AODA board, or their equivalent as approved by the board.
(b) Applicants who have not been certified by an ICRC/AODA
board or its equivalent as approved by the board on the effective
date of this article and who, through written evidence and
verified by oath, demonstrate that they have been functioning for
three years in the capacity of a professional alcohol and drug
counselor as defined by this article shall be issued a temporary
license to practice professional alcohol and drug counseling. A
temporary license issued pursuant to this section shall be renewed at intervals prescribed by the board. A temporary
license shall not be valid after the first day of June, one
thousand nine hundred ninety-eight. Persons holding a temporary
license shall be issued a license to practice only after
achieving a passing score on a written and oral licensure exam
administered or approved by the board.
(c) Any person issued a license pursuant to this section is
required to pay the license or renewal fees established in
section seven of this article.
§30-35-12. Professional identification.
(a) A person holding a license to practice professional
alcohol and drug counseling in this state may use the title
"licensed alcohol and drug counselor" and the abbreviation
(b) A licensee shall either show his or her license or
provide a copy thereof within twenty-four hours of a request from
an employer or the board.
§30-35-13. Disciplinary criteria.
The board may revoke, suspend or refuse to renew any
license, or place on probation,or otherwise reprimand a licensee
or permit holder, or deny a license to an applicant if it finds that the person:
(a) Is guilty of fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting
to procure a license or renewal of a license to practice
professional alcohol and drug counseling;
(b) Is unfit or incompetent by reason of negligence, habits
or other causes of incompetence;
(c) Is professionally impaired to a degree that impedes
professional behavior and/or violates accepted ethical standards;
(d) Is actively addicted to or is improperly obtaining,
possessing, using or distributing drugs illegally;
(e) Is convicted of a felony that materially affects the
person's ability to safely practice professional alcohol and drug
(f) Is guilty of dishonest or unethical conduct as
determined by the board;
(g) Has practiced professional alcohol and drug counseling
after his or her license or permit has expired, been suspended or
(h) Has practiced professional alcohol and drug counseling
under cover of any permit or license illegally or fraudulently
obtained or issued; or
(i) Has violated or aided or abetted others in violation of
any provision of this article.
§30-35-14. Due process procedure.
(a) Upon filing with the board a written complaint charging
a person with being guilty of any of the acts described in
section thirteen of this article, the administrative secretary or
other authorized employee of the board shall provide a copy of
the complaint or list of allegations to the person about whom
the complaint was filed. That person has twenty days thereafter
to file a written response to the complaint. The board shall
thereafter, if the allegations warrant, make an investigation.
If the board finds reasonable grounds for the complaint, a time
and place for a hearing shall be set, notice of which shall be
served on the licensee, permit holder or applicant as least
fifteen calendar days in advance of the hearing date. The notice
shall be by personal service or by certified or registered mail
sent to the last known address of the person.
(b) The board may petition the circuit court for the county
within which the hearing is being held to issue subpoenas for the
attendance of witnesses and the production of necessary evidence
in any hearing before it. Upon request of the respondent or of his or her counsel, the board shall petition the court to issue
subpoenas in behalf of the respondent. The circuit court upon
petition may issue such subpoenas as it considers necessary.
(c) Unless otherwise provided in this article, hearing
procedures shall be promulgated in accordance with, and a person
who feels aggrieved by a decision of the board may take an appeal
pursuant to, the administrative procedures in this state as
provided in chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(a) A person is exempt from this article if the person does
not represent to the public, or health care financing agencies,
directly or indirectly, that the person is licensed under this
article and does not use any name, title or designation
indicating that the person is licensed under this article.
(b) This article does not apply to the activities or
services of: A licensed professional counselor, a licensed
physician, registered nurse, licensed psychologist, licensed
social worker, religious leader of a congregation providing
pastoral alcohol and drug counseling within the scope of his or
(c) Nothing in this article limits the activities and services of a student, intern or resident in professional alcohol
and drug counseling seeking to fulfill educational requirements
in order to qualify for licensing under this article, if the
activities and services are supervised as specified in this
article, and that the student, intern or resident in designated
by a title "intern" or "resident" or other designation of trainee
status. Nothing in this section permits students, interns or
residents to offer their services as professional alcohol and
drug counselors to any other person and to accept renumeration
for such professional counseling services other than as
specifically excepted in this section, unless they have been
licensed under this article.
(d) Nothing in this article prohibits individuals not
licensed under the provisions of this article who work in self-
help groups or programs or volunteer organizations from providing
services in those groups, programs, organizations or health care
financing agencies, as long as those persons are not in any
manner held out to the public as licensed alcohol and drug
counselors (LADC), or do not hold themselves out to the public by
any title or designation stating or implying that they are a
licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC).
(e) An individual otherwise exempt under this section who
elects to obtain a license under this article must meet the same
eligibility and qualification requirements as any other applicant
for the appropriate license under this article.
§30-35-16. Practice of medicine prohibited.
Nothing in this article permits the practice of medicine.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to license the practice
of drug and alcohol counseling.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.