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Substance misuse outreach worker

Substance misuse outreach workers encourage people to get help from local support services, and advise them on minimising risks to health.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: on call; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 6% more Substance misuse outreach worker jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In this role you could work with individuals and groups. You could:

  • support people to manage their own recovery
  • find out about people's situations and needs
  • give face-to-face advice on health protection
  • talk about options for support
  • find and agree the best services to help people
  • help people to get access to services like housing or benefits advice
  • provide help to get to appointments or fill out forms
  • work with families to give wider practical and emotional support
  • write reports and record information, keeping to guidelines on confidentiality

Working environment

You could work at an outreach centre, in the community or at a health centre.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

There are part-time college courses which will give you an understanding of some of the issues. These include:Level 1 or Level 2 Award in Substance Misuse Awareness; Level 3 Certificate in Tackling Substance Misuse

For more information

You could do an early intervention practitioner higher apprenticeship.

You may also be able to get some of the skills and knowledge to get into this role through an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering with an organisation like a drug, alcohol or housing charity is a good way to build skills and experience, and is often a way into paid work.

You can find contacts for local substance misuse organisations from online services like Frank where you can search by postcode or town.

Direct application

You could apply directly to employers, if you've got relevant skills and knowledge. You'll need a good understanding of the issues facing people with substance misuse problems.

Experience in criminal justice, social care, youth work or counselling may give you an advantage when looking for paid work.

You could also apply if you have personal experience of addiction or dependency. Applications are usually welcome from people who have successfully come through treatment.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a substance misuse outreach worker from Alcohol Change UK and with you.

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With experience, you could become a senior recovery worker in charge of a team, volunteer co-ordinator or project team leader.

You could also specialise in working with a particular user group, like young people.

You can find out more about becoming a substance misuse outreach worker from Alcohol Change UK and Addaction.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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