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What does an Alcohol and Drug Support Worker do?

by Maria Onzain
Posted: October 27, 2019

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Would you like to dedicate yourself to helping people with alcohol and drug-related problems? Accompanying people in working through their struggles can be very challenging yet also extremely fulfilling.

Whatever career background you have, such as a nurse or social care worker, if you think you possess the essential abilities to work with drug and alcohol addicts, it may be the moment to take the next step towards this gratifying career. A great way to do this is by taking Open Colleges' CHC43215 Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs.

With this online course, you will learn the basic skills required to help those who are suffering from drug addiction and alcohol addiction. As part of this course, you will also undertake an engaging work placement where you can get practical experience working in an organisation involved in delivering alcohol and other drug-related services.

As a qualified Alcohol and Drug Support Worker, you will be able to help others daily by performing a wide range of tasks.  These are some of the responsibilities your role may include:


As an Alcohol and Drug Support Worker, you will be helping patients transition to a better life. You will need to be a good listener and give them support to help them dig into their personal issues. By doing so, you will be helping them find the root of the problem that causes their addiction.

Healthcare work

Being a nurse specialised in alcohol and drug abuse, you will be able to prescribe medication and supervise your patients' medical treatments. You will also be required to carry out follow-ups to adjust dosages where necessary and monitor any changes.

Arrest referral work

As an Alcohol and Drug Support professional, you may be working with people who are under arrest for drug-related offences. Part of your job duties will include visiting them in police cells or court premises to give them advice and support during those difficult times.

CARAT work

CARAT stands for Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and through care. This is a specialised position that requires working in prisons and mediating between drug rehabilitation programmes and drug abusers. You will be talking directly with offenders, giving them one-to-one support and other additional services such as teamwork sessions.

Rehabilitation work

As an Alcohol and Drug Support Worker, you will be able to do outreach work by visiting patients in different locations. Alternatively, you may choose to work at a residential rehabilitation unit. Working in a treatment centre, you will get to understand the day-to-day life of your patients. You will be helping them go through their regular issues, and you will get to see their evolution over time.

Needle exchange programs

Needle exchange programs aim to prevent and reduce the danger of contagion of diseases related to needle use, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. In this job, you will be involved in supervising drug users and giving them advice on how to use substances safely to reduce the risk of harm to themselves and society.

As you can see, becoming an Alcohol and Drug Support Worker will open the doors to a wide variety of fulfilling career paths. Dedicating your life to helping others is not an easy decision. But once you take the first steps, you will find your job particularly rewarding. Get started now by acquiring the right skills to become a health professional in this field.

If you’d like to find out more, consider reading this article where Tabitha, a skilled Alcohol and Drug Support Worker, shares her experiences and interesting industry insights with Open Colleges.


Maria Onzain

Maria is a Journalist and Content Marketing Specialist writing for Open Colleges about education, career, wellbeing, and innovation. With a degree in journalism and a master in international marketing, she covers stories on online publications about ed-tech, business, and women.

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