SUD Specialist

Public Health - Seattle & King County

Public Health- Seattle & King County values diverse perspectives and life experiences. The Department encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and veterans.

King County is seeking to hire up to three Substance Use Disorder Specialists within Public Health – Seattle & King County, Jail Health Services (JHS) Division. This full-time position is a Term-Limited Temporary position. Term-Limited Temporary positions are “at-will” positions but are eligible for benefits. The projected length of these Term-Limited Temporary positions is three years. These vacancies can also be filled as a Special Duty opportunity.

The purpose of JHS is to assure that basic health and human services are available to the incarcerated population in the King County adult correctional facilities. They provide a broad range of health care–including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine for individuals with opioid use disorder.

This position will fill a vital role in addressing King County’s opioid epidemic by linking individuals receiving MAT in the jail to a community provider upon release. Success of this effort lies in the ability of the Substance Use Disorder Specialist to foster the engagement and connection needed to inform patients about the service options available and then provide the transitional support needed to establish and begin receiving care in the community–all without judgement on the patient’s readiness to change.

The day-to-day work and approaches used will vary from patient to patient but must be client-centered, trauma-informed, recovery-oriented and founded on principles of harm reduction. The Substance Use Disorder Specialist must also be mindful of their own implicit biases and the role systems and structures play in the lived experiences of people who are living homeless, involved in the legal system, and living with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder.

Substance Use Disorder Specialists play an important part in addressing the opioid epidemic. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a team that is dedicated to having an immediate and lasting impact on their community.

Lived experience is deeply valued. Individuals in recovery and those who have had personal experience with the criminal legal system (and are not under any current jurisdiction) are encouraged to apply.

Work Schedule:
40-hour work week including weekend and evening shifts.

Work Location:
This position works with patients inside and outside of the Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC) in Kent and the King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) in Seattle and requires travel between facilities and to multiple community locations.  The MRJC is located at 401 4th Ave N, Kent, WA 98032 and KCCF is located at 500 5th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104.

Who May Apply:
This position is open to the general public.

For Special Duty Assignment interest, you must be a Career Service, Career Service Exempt or other regular (non-temporary) employees in King County who have completed their initial County probation.  You must have supervisor approval prior to taking a Special Duty Assignment.

Job Duties

  • Provide outreach, screening, assessment, brief-intervention, and psycho-educational support services to patients receiving MAT services.
  • Facilitate shared treatment decision making with participants in part by providing education to participants on the in-jail and in-community options to treat opioid use disorder.
  • Advocate for participants while in custody and as they transition back to the community, including assisting with enrollment in healthcare coverage and disability-related benefits, linkage to substance use disorder treatment, accessing community resources, and communication with the criminal legal system;
  • Assist participants with navigating and attending appointments in the community, especially those that are thought to improve treatment retention. This includes activities such as outreach, maintaining contact with patients, and escorting and arranging transportation directly to the treatment provider upon release.
  • Provide and monitor cash incentives if any for eligible participants.
  • Document patient contact and services delivered in electronic health record system.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • Registration as a Substance Use Disorder Counselor under WAC 440-22-240.
  • At least 2 years of experience working with individuals with substance use disorders and legal system involvement.
  • Knowledge of intake and assessment techniques and case management practices.
  • Knowledge of community resources and referral agencies appropriate to services offered.
  • Knowledge of trauma-informed care principles and approaches.
  • Knowledge of client-centered principles and approaches.
  • Knowledge of harm reduction principles and approaches.
  • Knowledge of recovery-oriented principles and approaches.
  • Knowledge of anti-racism principles and approaches.
  • Skill in written and oral communications.
  • Skill in working and building rapport with diverse cultural, socio-economic and ethnic populations.
  • Skill in outreach and screening program participants.
  • Skill in understanding and interpreting complex program regulations.
  • Skill in developing effective intervention plans.
  • Ability to travel on a flexible schedule as needed.
  • Must possess valid Washington Driver’s License to drive a county vehicle.

Supplemental Information Union Affiliation:

This position is represented by Office Professional Employees International Union, Local 8.


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