What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Did you know that 19.7 million American adults battled substance abuse in 2017? The number has skyrocketed during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An individual struggling with substance abuse may be addicted to drugs, alcohol or other harmful substances. This is where a Substance Abuse Counselor comes in!

So, what is a Substance Abuse Counselor exactly? To answer this, let’s first start by looking at the different names these professionals go by.

Substance Abuse Counselors can go by several different names

That’s right! Professionals in this role can go by a variety of different names. A few of these titles include:

  • Case Manager
  • Addiction Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Chemical Dependency Practitioner

It’s worth noting that the name typically depends on how the state has classified that profession based on licenses.


Many people suffering with addiction need the support and help from professionals to stay on track and successfully fight their addiction. Substance Abuse Counselors help suffering individuals build a plan to combat their disease. A Substance Abuse Counselor may recommend multiple appointments in order to check in with the patient and monitor their progress.

To achieve a successful outcome, a substance abuse professionals may also:

  • Provide support for the patient’s family members
  • Teach prevention and coping mechanisms
  • Refer the individual to support groups
  • Create a plan for the individual to combat the disease that includes the patient’s recovery period

Getting Started

Overall, a Substance Abuse Counselors helps individuals manage their addiction and establish a plan to maintain their progress.

The requirements to become a professional in this field vary state-to-state. However, most states require that an applicant complete a bachelor’s degree before applying for their license.

The University of Cincinnati offers a 100% online Substance Abuse Counseling degree. The program prepares students for a rewarding career in a high-demand profession in as little as two years. And, the University of Cincinnati’s bachelor’s degree in Substance Abuse Counseling is ranked #2 as the Best Online Addictions Counseling Bachelor’s Degrees on bestcolleges.com.


  1. Rehab Guided Addiction Statistics
  2. Substance Abuse Counseling Job Description
  3. Top Online Substance Abuse Counseling Programs
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