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Addiction Professionals Code of Ethics - NAADAC and BAPSA

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals is comprised of members who, as responsible healthcare professionals, believe in the dignity and worth of human beings. In the practice of their profession they assert that the ethical principles of autonomy, bene cence and justice must guide their personal conduct. As professionals dedicated to the treatment of alcohol and drug dependent clients and their families, they believe that they can ef- fectively treat its individual and familial manifestations. NAADAC members dedicate themselves to promote the best interests of their society, of their clients, of their profession, and of their colleagues.

NAADAC grants permission for other professionals asso­ ciations and certifying bodies to use this code of ethics. NAADAC shall be referenced in writing as the source when using any or all parts of this code. Any changes from NAADAC’s original code must be noted.

The Board of Addiction Professionals South Africa (BAPSA) has officially adopted the NAADAC code of ethics for addiction professionals.

NAADAC Code of Ethics


NAADAC recognizes that its members and NCC certi ed counselors live and work in many diverse communities. The NAADAC Code of Ethics was written to govern the conduct of its members and it is the accepted standard of conduct for addiction counselors certified by the National Certification Commission.

I. The Counseling Relationship

It is the responsibility of the addiction pro­ fessional to safeguard the integrity of the counseling relationship and to ensure that the client is provided with bene cial services. The client will be provided access to effective treatment and referral giving considera­ tion to individual educational, legal and nancial needs. Addiction professionals also recognize their responsibility to the larger society and any speci c legal obligations that may, on limited occasions, supersede loyalty to clients.

The addiction professional shall provide the client and/or guardian with accurate and complete information regarding the extent of the professional relationship. In all areas of function, the addiction professional is likely to encounter individuals who are vulnerable and exploitable. In such relationships he or she seeks to nurture and support the develop­ ment of a relationship of equals rather than to take unfair advantage. In personal rela­ tionships, the addiction professional seeks to foster self­suf ciency and healthy self­esteem in others. In relationships with clients he or she provides only that level and length of care that is necessary and acceptable.

II. Evaluation, Assessment and Interpretation of Client Data

The addiction professional uses assessment instruments as one component of the counsel­ ing/treatment and referral process taking into account the client’s personal and cultural background. The assessment process promotes the well­being of individual clients or groups. Addiction professionals base their recom­ mendations/reports on approved evaluation instruments and procedures. The designated assessment instruments are ones for which reliability has been veri ed by research.

III. Con dentiality/Privileged Communication and Privacy

Addiction professionals shall provide infor­ mation to clients regarding con dentiality and any reasons for releasing information in adherence with con dentiality laws. When providing services to families, couples or groups, the limits and exceptions to con den­ tiality must be reviewed and a written docu­ ment describing confidentiality must be provided to each person. Once private infor­ mation is obtained by the addiction profes­ sional, standards of con dentiality apply. Con dential information is disclosed when appropriate with valid consent from a client or guardian. Every effort is made to protect the confidentiality of client information, except in very speci c cases or situations.

IV. Professional Responsibility

The addiction professional espouses objectivity and integrity and maintains the highest standards in the services provided. The ad­ diction professional recognizes that effective­ ness in his or her profession is based on the ability to be worthy of trust. The professional has taken time to re ect on the ethical impli­ cations of clinical decisions and behavior using competent authority as a guide.

Further, the addiction professional recog­ nizes that those who assume the role of assist­ ing others to live a more responsible life take on the ethical accountability of living re­ sponsibly. The addiction professional recog­ nizes that even in a life well­lived, harm might be done to others by words and actions. When he or she becomes aware that any work or action has done harm, he or she admits the error and does what is possible to repair or ameliorate the harm except when to do so would cause greater harm. Professionals recognize the many ways in which they in u­ ence clients and others within the community and take this fact into consideration as they make decisions in their personal conduct.

V. Working in a Culturally Diverse World

An addiction professional understands the signi cance of the role that ethnicity and culture plays in an individual’s perceptions and how he or she lives in the world. Addiction professionals shall remain aware that many individuals have disabilities which may or may not be obvious. Some disabilities are invisible and unless described might not appear to inhibit expected social, work and health care interactions. Included in the invisible disabled category are those persons who are hearing impaired, have a learning disability, have a history of brain or physical injuries and those affected by chronic illness. Persons having such limita­ tions might be younger than age 65. Part of the intake and assessment must then include a question about any additional factor that must be considered when working with the client.

VI. Workplace Standards

The addiction professional recognizes that the profession is founded on national stan­ dards of competency which promote the best interests of society, the client, the individual addiction professional and the profession as a whole. The addiction professional recog­ nizes the need for ongoing education as a component of professional competency and development.

VII. Supervision and Consultation

Addiction professionals who supervise others accept the obligation to facilitate further professional development of these individuals by providing accurate and current informa­ tion, timely evaluations and constructive consultation. Counseling supervisors are aware of the power differential in their re­ lationships with supervisees and take precau­ tions to maintain ethical standards. In re­ lationships with students, employees and supervisees he/she strives to develop full creative potential and mature independent functioning.

VIII. Resolving Ethical Issues

The addiction professional shall behave in accordance with legal, ethical and moral standards for his or her work. To this end, professionals will attempt to resolve ethical dilemmas with direct and open communica­ tion among all parties involved and seek supervision and/or consultation as appropriate.

IX. Communication and Published Works

The addiction professional who submits for publication or prepares handouts for clients, students or for general distribution shall be aware of and adhere to copyright laws.

X. Policy and Political Involvement

The addiction professional is strongly encour­ aged to the best of his or her ability, to actively engage the legislative processes, educational institutions and the general public to change public policy and legislation to make possible opportunities and choice of service for all human beings of any ethnic or social back­ ground whose lives are impaired by alcoholism and drug abuse.

Revised March 28, 2011

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