Carolyn Chambless

Carolyn Chambless – Outreach Specialist

Addiction treatment really does take a village. At all stages of the recovery spectrum, there are a variety of clinical experts that provide support to the patient seeking treatment. However, there are also non-clinical experts within this setting that work with substance users from the perspective of having been there themselves.


I will explain the role of the Outreach Specialist in an addiction treatment setting.

Why should a residential addiction treatment facility include outreach specialists?

Email me below and I’ll contact you with an answer.

    Addiction Treatment and Outreach Specialist

    The role of the outreach specialist is to provide initial contact and guidance to the searching individual suffering from substance abuse. Typically, these caregivers have some sort of real-life experience in or with recovery. Whether they are related to a recovering person or are actually a former addict, outreach specialists are critically important when providing emotional and informational support to those seeking some form of help and hopefully recovery.

    Outreach specialists within an addiction treatment setting are not 12-step counselors. The outreach specialist works to gain the trust of the individual seeking help; they are not governed by 12-step rules, although they may use those tools if preferred.

    Outreach specialists in recovery provide “street cred” to any addiction program. They are often the living proof that addiction recovery works if you put in the energy and time it takes to get sober.

    Offering assistance for the individuals suffering from substance abuse and often co-occurring disorders, is where outreach will also include sharing information with the professionals that may refer the client to a residential addiction treatment facility. There are many facilities that offer various programs and part of the responsibility of outreach specialists is to ensure the referring individuals know they are getting the right “fit” for their client in need of this particular help.

    The personal experiences of an outreach specialist can be very helpful to a patient seeking a psychological role model. Sometimes just speaking with someone who has been through the painful recovery process and comes out the other side is an affirmation that the potential client needs to move forward. These are the sometimes intangible but always crucial mechanisms that aid in the beginning of the recovery process.

    Ironically, the role of the outreach specialist can be underappreciated in clinical settings. But outreach is the front line of recovery. When the therapist, detox center, EAP, or hospital refers a client to outreach, it moves this client to finally take the first real step in facing their deadly disease head on. And in so doing, having the ability to deal with any other mental disorders or trauma they’ve possibly been self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol once they are in treatment.

    Leveraging outreach specialists in addiction treatment is an important but sometimes unrecognized part of the recovery process. While these are non-clinical caregivers, they play an important role in addiction treatment and recovery care modalities since they assist on both the front end as well as the back end of residential addiction treatment. Outreach specialists will also share information on various IOP’s, therapists and sober living suggestions for aftercare so the client can continue their care after residential to increase their abilities to maintain long term sobriety.

    Are you looking for an addiction treatment facility that will provide compassionate care for your patients who are struggling from substance use disorders?


    Contact me to find out more about referring patients to our facilities.