By Dee Cohen
Social workers can work with people who are struggling with substance abuse issues as well as family members who fear addiction due to a negative family history. A social worker in this field may have clients that are addicted to heroin, crack cocaine, prescription drugs or alcohol. They may also be working with clients that have gone through rehab and are trying to maintain their gains. An addict can benefit by a counselor who can encourage and help them with finding treatment facilities or an outpatient program. Upon completion of drug addiction treatment, the client will need help with dealing with family plus adjusting back to the real world to search for a job. Often therapists will work with doctors and psychologists in team meetings to help with prescribing treatment to the client.
Many social workers in this field find employment in prisons, treatment centers, hospitals, outpatient clinics and social services agencies. Sometimes work is needed to get the client out of denial and to fact that there is an addiction issue. For those that are already dealing with their problem, helping the client to make better choices and process their emotions in healthier ways is very important. The majority of the clients for substance abuse counseling will be addicted to street drugs and alcohol. However, now there is a growing trend of addiction to pain killer medications.
Many people who want to pursue a career as a substance abuse social worker can get on the job training in certain settings. The minimum educational requirement for a social worker in substance abuse is a bachelor degree, also called the BSW. It would help to pursue a Master degree for high level jobs in the social work field. In addition, the course work will provide a thorough knowledge in social and substance abuse concepts, studies, theories, behavior habits related to substance abuse and research methods.
The salary of a social worker in the substance abuse can vary depending on the location and job. Having a master's degree will give you a higher salary and being licensed also opens up more job opportunities. Getting a certification in addiction may be a requirement for certain positions as well.
The job of a social worker in the substance abuse field can be very stressful, but rewarding. The position requires dealing with different types of people that may have a lot of rage, disappointment, suicidal ideas and difficult pasts. Also, this career requires someone that can keep information organized on patients and good records. Compassion is essential as well as a keen eye for manipulation as often someone who is vulnerable can be taken advantage of by another person. The gratitude from a client when they are thankful you helped them through a craving period can be very rewarding.
Learn More About Social Work Roles Including Working With Addiction
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