nurse sitting at desk with woman

Substance Abuse Nursing

Learn How to Become a Substance Abuse Nurse

Substance abuse nurses are specialized in pain management techniques. They focus on caring for patients addicted to drugs and alcohol, addressing withdrawal symptoms when needed, and promoting steps toward long-term recovery. Much of their job also involves teaching patients about the dangers of substance abuse and providing resources for treatment and support. Since addiction has both mental and physical components, substance abuse nurses receive training in both general medicine and mental health.

Preparation Path

Earn your BSN

Pass the NCLEX and become an RN

Work as an RN for at least three years (logging 4,000 hours) or gain two years of experience in substance abuse

Get your substance abuse nurse certification

Typical Tasks

  • Administering medication and regulate patient treatment
  • Teaching patients, their families and the public about the dangers of substance abuse
  • Providing physical and emotional support for patients and their families

Employment Settings

  • Mental health clinics
  • Psychiatric wards
  • Inpatient or outpatient treatment center

Annual Salary Range

$43,500 – $69,500


RN, Substance Abuse Nurse certification from the International Nurses Society on Addictions (exam only available twice a year)

Education Requirements


Ready to begin your journey to becoming a substance abuse nurse?