Substance Use Counselor

  • AIDS Foundation of Chicago
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dec 09, 2022
Full time Nonprofit-Social Services

Job Description

Do you embrace and support all paths to recovery from abstinence to safer using? The Substance Use Counselor works directly with program participants to support all paths to recovery through a lens of person-centered and strengths-based modalities rooted in the principles and practices of harm reduction.

The Connection to Harm Reduction (C2HR) program serves formerly homeless individuals living in permanent supportive housing. Participants seek support to enter treatment, engage with in-home mental health counseling or access safer using supplies and overdose prevention education.

The Substance Use Counselor understands the harms that have been done through the criminalization of drugs and drug users. The Substance Use Counselor builds relationships and trust while demonstrating dignity and respect to the communities and folks that are supported within the C2HR program. The Substance Use Counselor understands that drug use is a public health issue and that the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs is causing harm and death.

This position requires access to a vehicle and insurance. This position requires field work 4 days per week with one day per week of administrative or office-based work.

The salary range for this role is $45,000 to $53,000. This position is eligible for a sign-on bonus of $2,000. Successfully hired candidates are given half of the bonus at the start of work, and the other half after the successful completion of the probationary period (90 days). Sign-on bonuses are considered taxable income.


  • Develop and maintain knowledge of the substance use provider network in Illinois, including Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), detox services, inpatient services, outpatient services, peer support, mental health care, and/or coordination with primary care when appropriate
  • Develop and maintain relationships with substance use treatment providers to understand treatment criteria and availability of services
  • Work with Housing Providers to assess and refer clients in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Transitional Housing programs in need of substance use treatment services to substance use treatment providers
  • Provide harm reduction education to clients including training and distribution of Naloxone and fentanyl test strips
  • Support and advocate for clients to self-determine appropriate treatment options
  • Work with Housing Providers to provide outreach services to those clients who need to be re-engaged in services
  • Utilize internal and external database systems, including CaseWorthy, to track project data and client engagement
  • Assist to convene meetings and provide trainings to intensive case managers and supervisors on harm reduction, drug policy and other topics relevant to support drug user health and autonomy
  • Coordinate other related initiatives that support the CHH collaborative and the project
  • Complete funder mandated reports as necessary; document daily activities as related to the project
  • Attend regular trainings on harm reduction and related policy and advocacy issues
  • Engage in regular educational opportunities to increase knowledge about drugs, drug user health, the War on Drugs, harm reduction techniques and any other related topics to increase competency and compassion


  • Assist with agency-wide activities as directed, including Annual Meeting, AIDS Run & Walk, and others
  • Protect organization's value and manage risk by keeping information confidential
  • Perform other duties as assigned
  • The list of essential functions, as outlined herein, is intended to be representative of the tasks performed within this classification. It is not necessarily descriptive of any one position in this class. The omission of an essential function does not preclude management from assignment of duties not listed herein if such functions are a logical assignment to the position.


Minimum Qualifications

  • High School Diploma and 2 or more years in substance use or harm reduction advocacy/counseling or equivalent lived experience
  • PLUS Valid driver's license and acceptable vehicle insurance
  • PLUS Reliable vehicle transportation

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 2 or more years substance use/harm reduction case management and/or counseling experience
  • LSW, LPC, Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) and, or Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential


  • The ability to attend to and verify the accuracy and completeness of detailed information in paper documents or electronically (i.e., charges, data, due dates).
  • Basic knowledge or willingness to learn of HIV infection and related chronic diseases
  • The ability to provide client support through home visits across the Chicagoland area
  • The ability to use computer and web-based systems (e.g., PC-based tools, Microsoft applications, Web-based applications)
  • The ability to provide efficient, quality service to both internal and external customers
  • The ability and willingness to respect and value the differences and perceptions of different groups/individuals


The work environment is representative of that found in a general office environment. Tasks involve minimal physical activity requiring some walking, standing, or bending. Tasks may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials of light weight (up to 10 pounds.) Tasks may also involve extended periods of time at a keyboard or workstation and on the telephone.


Social Service



$45,000 to $53,000