What Social Work Jobs Specialize In Substance Abuse?

Substance AbuseThere are many options for social work jobs that specialize in substance abuse. These types of jobs are personally and professionally rewarding and satisfying for people who are interested in putting their communication skills and compassion to use every day. Social workers specializing in substance abuse combine those qualities with knowledge and skill in managing care and counseling for a variety of clients who need help in dealing with substance abuse issues.

Addiction Social Workers and Substance Abuse Social Workers

The first category of jobs in this specialized field of social work include addiction or substance abuse social worker positions. Social workers that specialize in these particular areas deal directly with clients who have issues with everything from alcohol to illegal drugs to prescription drugs. Substance abuse and addiction social workers work with clients to assess individual needs and histories of abuse, develop care and recovery plans, counsel clients for causes of abuse, educate on and treat for behaviors, make referrals for additional services and resources, and monitor and re-evaluate treatments.

A substance abuse or addiction social worker can find positions in hospitals, out-patient care facilities, rehabilitation centers, government agencies, psychiatric hospitals, educational institutions, and community organizations. Each of these workplaces relies on substance abuse and addiction social workers to work with clients to help overcome the emotional, physical, financial, and other burdens that come with an addiction or substance abuse problem.

Family and School Social Workers

Although substance abuse is not always related to helping clients in family social work settings or students in a school environment, cases do arise in which familiarity and ability in handling the care and counseling of substance abuse can alleviate and benefit effects such as domestic abuse, behavioral issues, learning barriers, and social development in children, adolescents, and adults. With the proper training and additional certifications in substance abuse, social workers in these areas work with clients to address any issues with alcoholism or drug use.

Corrections Social Worker

Often, substance abuse is compounded by additional issues that are a direct result of a physical addiction that sometimes result in incarceration. Because of this, many prison facilities have social workers on hand to help prisoners address the underlying causes of the substance abuse and complete treatment plans and counseling while incarcerated in an attempt to prepare for release and avoid returning to previous behaviors with substance abuse. Social workers in correctional facilities, therefore, must have a solid understanding of the different techniques and treatments for substance abuse issues when working as a corrections social worker.

Parole and Probation Officers

After release from a correctional facility, parole and probation officers continue to help implement, manage, and evaluate all types of issues, including substance abuse problems. With a social work degree, many graduates enter into this particular career path and having experience and knowledge in substance abuse counseling and treatment is beneficial to both the professional and the parolee or probationer.

Related Resource: MSW Degree

Additional information on social work positions that require knowledge of and skill in the treatment of substance issues can be found at the National Association of Social Workers website. With the right education, personal qualities, and skills, future social work professionals have many opportunities to pursue social work jobs that specialize in substance abuse.