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Frequently Asked Questions

Substance Abuse |  Recovery Support Specialist

Substance Abuse

  1. How serious is the substance abuse problem in Oklahoma?
  2. How many people in Oklahoma are in need of substance abuse treatment? 
  3. What are some signs that a family member or I might need substance abuse treatment?
  4. What if I can't afford treatment in a substance abuse program?
  5. How can I find a substance abuse treatment center near me?
  6. How can I find a support group for people with substance abuse problems or their families?
  7. How do I find a DUI school near me?
  8. What do I have to do to get my driver's license back after DUI charges
  9. How can I become certified as an alcohol/drug counselor in Oklahoma?

1. How serious is the substance abuse problem in Oklahoma?
Substance abuse is the number one public health problem in Oklahoma and nationally. The economic cost is staggering, estimated at nearly $7 billion annually in Oklahoma and $414 billion nationwide. Annual costs of substance abuse in Oklahoma are nearly $2 billion for expenses related to health care, public safety, social services, costs to business, and property loss. Another $5 billion in costs is related to lost productivity. In Oklahoma, drug and alcohol addiction contributes to 85 percent of all homicides, 80 percent of all prison incarcerations, 75 percent of all divorces, 65 percent of all child abuse cases, 55 percent of all domestic assaults, 50 percent of all traffic fatalities, 35 percent of all rapes, and 33 percent of all suicides.

2. How many people in Oklahoma are in need of substance abuse treatment?
The ODMHSAS estimates that nearly 140,000 Oklahomans over age 18--about 5 percent of the population--need treatment for alcohol addiction. Another 1 percent--about 21,000 people--need treatment for other types of drug addiction. Nearly 6 percent of the state's 323,000 adolescents--approximately 20,000 teenagers--need treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Statewide, alcohol addiction surpasses drug addiction by an average of 7.5 to one, meaning that for every person needing drug treatment, more than seven people need alcohol treatment.

3. What are some signs that a family member or I might need substance abuse treatment?
A person in need of treatment will likely exhibit some of the following symptoms: 1) the substance (drugs or alcohol) is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended; 2) persistent desire, or one or more unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use; 3) excessive time spent getting, taking, or recovering from the substance; 4) frequent intoxication or withdrawal symptoms when expected to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home, or when substance use is physically hazardous; 5) important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use; 6) continued substance use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the use of the substance; 7) marked tolerance--need for increased amounts of the substance (at least a 50 percent increase) to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount; 8) characteristic withdrawal symptoms; and 9) substance often taken to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. Based on the number and duration of these symptoms reported, a diagnosis of abuse or treatment need may be determined. In adolescents, warning signs often include: changes in sleeping, eating, or grooming habits; hypersensitivity or temper tantrums; unexplained weight loss or gain; red or watery eyes; shaking of the hands, feet, or legs; frequent nausea or vomiting; excessive sweating; a drop in grades at school; skipping school; loss of interest in family activities previously enjoyed; an "I don't care" attitude; excessive need for privacy or secrecy; and/or an unexplained need for money or stealing money.

4. What if I can't afford treatment in a substance abuse program?
The amount a client pays for services in ODMHSAS-supported programs depends upon his or her income, family size, and insurance status. A representative of the service provider discusses these factors with the client and determines the extent to which fees may be applicable. Clients may use the behavioral health coverage in their private insurance policies to help pay for treatment. The Medicaid program also covers the cost of some services for those who are eligible. Clients who are not eligible for Medicaid benefits, those who have no insurance, or those who have used all the benefits allowed by their insurance policies may qualify for fully state-supported services.

5. How can I find a substance abuse treatment center near me?
There are dozens of substance abuse treatment programs in Oklahoma supported, at least in part, by funding from ODMHSAS. They offer a range of services, including detoxification, outpatient counseling, residential treatment, halfway house, and other services. One easy way to find a program near you is to call ReachOut (800-522-9054), a statewide toll free number that's answered 24 hours a day. The ReachOut staff member can help you find the right services for you or your family member. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can use a TTY to call ReachOut. If you prefer, you can look at a listing of Oklahoma's state-supported substance abuse treatment facilities on this website. The list is arranged alphabetically by city to make it easy to find a program near you. There is also a listing available on the Internet, prepared by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, that includes treatment providers all across the nation. This list can be found at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

6. How can I find a support group for people with substance abuse problems or their families?
The ODMHSAS ReachOut hotline, 800-522-9054, has information on support groups across the state. ReachOut is toll free and available 24 hours a day. In addition to voice calls, it can receive calls from deaf or hard-of-hearing persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY).

7. How do I find a DUI school near me?
There are numerous DUI schools across the state. For help in finding one near you, call the ReachOut 24-hour toll free line, 800-522-9054. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can use your TTY to make the call.

8. What do I have to do to get my driver's license back after DUI charges?
You must first get an ADSAC assessment. The ADSAC Assessment fee is set by law at $175.00 if your arrest was prior to November 1, 2008. $160.00 if your arrest was November 1, 2008 or after and the assessment must be completed by an assessor certified by the Department of Mental Health and Substances Abuse Services specifically for the purpose of reinstatement of driver’s license. Client must follow and complete all recommendations made by the certified assessor and any additional requirements made by the Department of Public Safety before driver’s license will be reinstated. Upon completion you will be provided a completion certificate to present to DPS. You must meet all statutory requirements to be reinstated. To find an assessor call 800-522-9054.

9. How can I become certified as an alcohol/drug counselor in Oklahoma?Professional certification of substance abuse counselors is administered by the Oklahoma Drug and Alcohol Professional Counselors Association (ODAPCA). You can contact this organization for requirements and application procedures: ODAPCA, 9301 S. I-35 Service Road, Moore, OK 73160, telephone 405-793-1545. You can also visit the organization's website: www.odapca.org.

Recovery Support Specialist

  1. I'm interested in becoming a Recovery Support Specialist (RSS). How do I know if I am in recovery?
  2. What do Recovery Support Specialists(RSS)Do?
  3. Being a RSS is something that I think I want to do, what now?
  4. What does the RSS training cost?
  5. How do I know I have been accepted to attend the RSS training?
  6. What if I do not get accepted to attend the RSS training?
  7. What can I expect to learn from attending the RSS training?
  8. I heard there was a test to become an RSS. What should I expect?
  9. What do I do to stay credentialedas an RSS?
  10. Where can I find classes for CEUs for RSS?

1. I'm interested in becoming a Recovery Support Specialist (RSS). How do I know if I am in recovery?
William Anthony, Director of the Boston Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation has developed the cornerstone definition of mental health recovery. According to Anthony (1993) recovery is " a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness."

2. What do Recovery Support Specialists(RSS)Do?
A RSS works in collaboration with the people we serve as well as clinical staff for the best interests of the person’s recovery process. There are many positive roles that a RSS can fulfill in the organization based on his/her individual skills, experience, education, and desires. Recovery Support Specialists offer the advantage of lived experience from mental illness and/or substance abuse. They know the journey to recovery is real and attainable, because he or she has found recovery for themselves.

3. Being a RSS is something that I think I want to do, what now?
As a result of meeting the minimum requirements one must then be willing to attend the 5 day, 40-hour RSS Training Program and respect the RSS Code of Ethics. Following the successful completion of the training program, the RSS applicant must pass a competency exam to demonstrate understanding of the program to earn the title of “Credentialed Peer Recovery Support Specialist.” Training, testing, and credentialing are under the auspices of the Mental Health Recovery Division of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).

4. What does the RSS training cost?
Attendance for the RSS training is free. You will be expected to provide your own lunch each day and any lodging that you may require.

5. How do I know I have been accepted to attend the RSS training?
Upon careful review, once you have been accepted into the training you will receive a letter. If you provide an email address your letter will come via email otherwise the letter will be sent to your home address. Your letter will provide the dates of the training and provide a map of the training facility.

6. What if I do not get accepted to attend the RSS training?
If you receive a letter stating that you have not been accepted to the training and you feel you have received this letter in error. You may resubmit your application and provide the information that we have indicated is missing or that may have been misunderstood.

7. What can I expect to learn from attending the RSS training?
The Recovery Support Specialist Credentialing Training Program will give the participants a full introduction to the following competencies: 1. An understanding of the skills to provide recovery support to their peers; a. Understand possible RSS job activities (which vary based on where you are employed) b. A clear understanding of the RSS Code of Ethics c. Understand the meaning of peer support and the role of Credentialed Recovery Support Specialists including an understanding of dual relationships. Understand the difference in treatment goals and recovery goals and promote recovery goals and personal life goals d. Be able to facilitate a variety of activities that support and strengthen recovery including starting and maintaining self-help/mutual support groups e. Be able to help problem-solve and help a person learn to self advocate, the meaning of self determination, teach others to advocate for the services that they want and to use naturally occurring community supports f. Be able to help a person served articulate, set and accomplish his/her personal life goals g. Be able to assist in the facilitation of recovery plans and plans of action, i.e. WRAP, Psychiatric Advanced Directives, etc. 2. An understanding of the recovery process and how to use their own recovery story to help others a. Understand the recovery process and what is helpful and not helpful b. Understand the role of peer support in the recovery process c. Understand the power of beliefs/values and how they support or work against recovery d. Understand the basic definition and dynamics of empowerment and self-directed recovery e. Be able to articulate what has been helpful and what is not helpful in his/her own recovery in services and interventions f. Be able to use their recovery story as it relates to the peer relationship as well as the needs of the mental health system in the provision of services. 3. An understanding of and the ability to establish healing relationships a. Understand the meaning and importance of cultural competency and spirituality in the recovery environment b. Be able to interact thoughtfully and successfully with people of other cultures and belief systems c. Be able to personally cope with conflict and difficult interpersonal relations in the workplace d. Be able to identify ways to help make the environment more recovery oriented and comforting to the people served. 4. An understanding of the importance of and have the ability to take care of oneself a. Understand the dynamics of stress and compassion fatigue b. Be able and willing to discuss his/her own tools for taking care of him/herself

8. I heard there was a test to become an RSS. What should I expect?
After completion of the 5 day training all participants will be expected to take and pass the test. The test will take place anywhere from 2 weeks to a month following the training. Participants must attend all the modules in order to test. The test is pass or retake. If it is determined that you must retake the exam you will be offered tutoring and a review. The test is a combination of true/false, multiple choice, and essay questions. It is reasonable to expect that there will be some application questions on the exam.

9. What do I do to stay credentialedas an RSS?
Each year all RSS are expected to have 12 hours of continuing education credits (CEU). In addition to the 12 hours, 3 hours must be in Ethics. Click here to find a form to track your CEU hours. (link to the CEU tracking sheet) It is the responsibility of each individual to maintain their own tracking sheets and to turn it in by the due date each calendar year. The cut off date for turning in your continuing education credits each year is December 31 at 5:00 pm.

10. Where can I find classes for CEUs for RSS?
Go to the ODMHSAS website and look at the calendar of events.

Last Modified on Nov 04, 2020