Addictions Worker Job Description

January 13th, 2022

Addiction is a complex disorder that can severely interfere, disrupt, and affect the quality of a person’s life. It can take years for someone to realize that they have a problem and by then, it has become a habit, which is hard to break. There are many factors that can contribute to an addiction problem including environmental influences, genetics, life experiences, and pre-existing mental health conditions. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Ontario, a simplistic way of describing addiction is the presence of the 4 Cs: Craving, loss of Control of amount or frequency of use, Compulsion to use, and use despite negative Consequences.

addiction worker speaking with a client Good listening and excellent communication skills are important qualities of addiction workers.

Addictions come in many forms such as substance-related (alcohol, prescription drugs or cocaine addiction) and behavioural addictions in which you physically do something (gambling, video games, or internet addiction). The good news is no matter what stage of addiction a person is in, with the right help, anyone can overcome addiction.   

In this article, we will review the job responsibilities of an addiction support worker, the skills and abilities needed for the role, and wages.

Job Responsibilities of an Addiction Worker

Addiction workers provide people struggling with drugs, eating disorders, shopping addictions, or substance abuse with help and a path towards recovery. They are employed by mental health agencies, shelters, substance abuse centers, hospitals, family social service agencies, school boards, correctional facilities, and other establishments.

Daily tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Review client background information and interview clients to conduct a complete mental health assessment to determine needs and level of risk
  • Apply mental health assessment to determine client’s needs and discuss recommended services and support options for the client and their family  
  • Develop plans of actions, implementation, and follow-up of the client goal plan
  • Provide crisis intervention and emergency services for clients with health and safety concerns when it is determined that additional intervention is required
  • Teach clients, families and/or significant others a variety of coping mechanisms and strategies focusing on a healthy lifestyle including self-care, breathing techniques, and healthy eating 
  • Liaise with mental health and addiction services and resources to provide necessary support and assistance 
  • Assist clients in locating and utilizing community resources including medical, housing, employment, daycare, and other services
  • Maintain current progress records on clients and document intervention plans and outcomes 
  • Discuss any difficulties or problems and formulate solutions for improvement
  • Support the client during all stages of recovery from usage to abstinence
  • Develop discharge plans in partnership with the treatment team
  • Complete client documentation and data requirements in accordance with hospital, Ministry of Health, and departmental standards

Addiction Worker Skills and Abilities

If you are patient, compassionate, and a problem solver, you may find a rewarding career as an addiction worker. The ability to communicate effectively (both verbally and written) with clients and their families, medical staff, and healthcare providers creates a strong addiction worker-client relationship and can yield successful outcomes. People recovering from addiction can have low self-esteem and are more likely to struggle with effective communication, which is why having good listening skills can help put clients at ease. 

Addiction is a complex psychological and physical condition and professional help is required to overcome it. Addiction workers play an important part in orchestrating recovery plans for their clients and need to have the ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others. Having empathy, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence skills are crucial to being successful in the role.

Addiction Worker Salary in Ontario

An addiction worker’s salary will vary depending on the province, where they work, and their level of experience. Canadian addiction workers normally earn anywhere between $16.00 to $34.19 per hour. According to Job Bank, the highest average median wages are earned in Nunavut at $34.83 per hour. The median wages in Ontario are $22.57 per hour.

Addictions Worker Programs in Ontario

To get started on this career path, a great first step is to acquire an addictions worker diploma. This will provide you with the confidence you need to help people with addiction overcome their struggles and hardships. Formal education will provide you with anger and stress management techniques, basics of psychology, counselling techniques, insight into addiction and crime, anomie theory, opportunity theory, and much more.

Helping people with a life of addiction re-enter society as sober individuals is a highly rewarding experience. You are helping them make the transition from a life of addiction into a life of healing, growth, and positivity. Through the support of an interdisciplinary team, you help them find their purpose, mend broken relationships, and above all, teach them about loving and respecting themselves.

Visit triOS College’s Addiction Worker Program Page to learn more.