Substance abuse and other addictions is increasing in Canada. According to Teen Challenge Canada, a program dedicated to helping young people keep clean, more than 47,000 annual deaths in the country are linked to substance abuse.
The Vancouver Sun also reported that 20 percent of those struggling with substance abuse are teens 18 years old, and the average age than many are introduced to drugs is 11 years old. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) has published a study reporting that around 10 percent of junior high and high school students have used hallucinogenic drugs and an additional 40 percent binge drinking.
According to StatsCan, over the past few years demand for social services has both diversified and intensified. On the family front, the demand has arisen largely because of family instability. Family Instability and family violence has also led to an increase in the need for services for children and families. These and other factors have also contributed to the rise in stress, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, dropping out of school, behavioral problems and traumatic events.
Individuals who want to make a difference to their community and become an addictions worker usually possess a caring and compassionate nature. They are also energetic and capable of providing emotional support to their clients.
Typical job titles for individuals interested in this career path include:
- Aboriginal outreach worker
- Addictions worker
- Child and youth worker
- Community development worker
- Community service worker
- Crisis intervention worker
- Developmental service worker
- Drop-in centre worker
- Family service worker
- Financial assistance worker
- Group home worker
- Life skills instructor
- Mental health worker
- Rehabilitation worker
- Social services worker
- Women's shelter worker
- Youth worker
How to prepare for this meaningful career:
There are many colleges that offer Addiction Worker programs. They are designed to provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills required for employment as an Addiction Worker. Students learn to apply the principles of addiction, pharmacology and structured relapse prevention planning. They will gain practical skills in intake, assessment, motivational interviewing and treatment planning with a strong emphasis on case management and professional ethics. Programs usually include an in-depth study of family dynamics and addiction as well as special populations: Natives and other ethnic/cultural groups, youth, sexual minorities, elderly, concurrent disorders, homeless, gender (women), crime, HIV/AIDS and suicidal clients. Students also learn the principles of communication and anger and stress management techniques.
Colleges that offer career diplomas for this career are:
- Child and Youth Care Worker
- Child and Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker
- Child and Youth Care with Addictions Support Worker – St. John’s, NL