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Substance Use Navigator 

Position Substance Use Navigator  

Req Number ENA-22-00012  

Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  

Open Date 8/5/2022  



The Substance Use Navigator (SUN) helps patients’ access evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders with a focus on low-threshold access to MAT (medication assisted treatment) and harm-reduction. Open Door’s SUN conducts outreach and identification of patients, completes brief initial assessments, and introduces patients to MAT programs and services, as well as facilitates appointments at outpatient MAT clinics, and serves as a resource and coach to support continuity of care. The SUN also assist with access to other services such as Alcohol and Other Drugs counseling, primary care, mental health services, social services, and residential treatment facilities as needed.


Position Requirements


Outreach and Patient Identification

  • Assist with identification of patients with a substance use or co-occurring mental health disorders by monitoring patient tracking systems to screen for eligible patients and checking in with clinicians and support staff to receive referrals of eligible patients.
  • Make contact and establish a positive relationship with patients struggling with drug use, this may include initial patient assessments and brief interventions using standardized tools.
  • Make SUN contact information widely available to people who use drugs and clinicians learning how to work with people using drugs; respond to calls or texts directly from patients and providers during hours of operation.
  • Advocate for a culture of low threshold access to buprenorphine for patients with Opiate Use Disorder (OUD) that includes signage or materials inviting patients to seek help for substance use in prominent areas of the Clinics.
  • Conduct outreach to touch points for high risk opioid use such as jails, ED Bridge programs, syringe distribution locations, homeless shelters, and SUD treatment programs. The goal is to gain the respect and trust of the highest risk people using drugs in the community.
  • Facilitate initiation of MAT with outpatient programs, or with community partner inpatient programs when needed.
  • Use motivational interviewing techniques to communicate with patients in a respectful, culturally appropriate, non-judgmental manner.
  • Maintain up-to-date information about the effects of various substances, withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options in order to effectively educate and counsel patients and staff.
  • Promote harm-reduction strategies based on patients’ goals, preferences, and life circumstances.

Follow Up Care Navigation

  • Assist with navigating barriers for patients obtaining buprenorphine prescription from pharmacies (e.g. insurance status, copay expense, cost differences between formulations, etc.).
  • Develop connections with a comprehensive array of Open Door service providers to address the needs of people with SUD or co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Schedule appointments at Open Door clinics with MAT services for admission to program and evaluation of access barriers by assisting with transportation (e.g. bus passes, fuel cards, Partnership Healthplan of CA managed care benefits, etc.), retrieving medical records, or other social supports as determined by patient needs and community resources.
  • Provide patients referrals to other services such as shelter, primary care, mental health services, social services, and residential treatment facilities.
  • Establish a relationship with patients and communicate via telephone, text messaging, MyChart, and/or secure email to remind patients of appointments, help navigate obstacles to follow up treatment, and offer support services.
  • Work with Open Door staff to set up a robust system for ensuring patient referral and follow-up processes are established, documented, and maintained in the electronic medical record.
  • Develop expertise in insurance benefits and exclusions related to treatment.
  • Assist out-of-county patients access MAT and other services in their home county.


  • Enter patient encounter data into the electronic medical record or other data collection system, as determined by Open Door protocols.
  • Program reporting, aggregate monthly or quarterly counts of targeted metrics such as, number of patients served, referrals to care, etc.

Culture Change

  • Advocate for a harm-reduction approach to patients who use drugs within Open Door and the community to reinforce evidence-based, non-judgmental approaches so that patients who use drugs get the same care as patients who do not use drugs.
  • Promote the use of non-stigmatizing language by Open Door staff when talking about people who use drugs.
  • Identifies problems related to patient services and makes recommendations for improvement.
  • Adheres to established clinical protocols, procedures, and attendance policy.
  • Assists in updating clinical protocols and procedures when requested.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as designated by supervisor.



  • Nonjudgmental, energetic, positive, harm-reduction approach to assisting patients with SUD.
  • Understanding of SUD as a medical condition and the role of MAT and harm reduction. Adherence to an abstinence-based social model that is unsupportive of MAT is not aligned with the goals of this position.
  • Interest/proficiency in working with individuals recently released from incarceration, homeless individuals, and other marginalized populations.
  • Preference for applicants with connections to, and reflecting the diversity of the local community.
  • Respect for patient confidentiality and privacy.
  • Ability to communicate clearly verbally and in writing.
  • Ability to interact with patients in a culturally, relatable manner. Any additional ability to communicate in languages spoken in the local community such as Spanish, Tagalog, Hmong, etc. is helpful yet not required.
  • Ability to use computer information systems, computer literacy, and knowledge of word processing.
  • Basic understanding of motivational interviewing practices.



  • High school graduate/GED. Higher education or class work in Alcohol and Other Drugs, Substance Use Disorders, or Addiction Studies preferred, or experience working in a social services setting with basic education/trainings in addictions studies.


CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS: There is no specific degree, certification, or training requirement.


SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: The SUN has no supervisory responsibilities.


SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT: The SUN works under the direction of Open Door’s SUD Supervisor. The SUN works in various Open Door clinics and are considered part of the larger behavioral health program at Open Door, which is overseen by the Director of Behavioral Health. Day-to-day logistical issues are supervised by the clinic Administrative Site Director and SUD Supervisor.


PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: This is largely an office-based position. The physical requirements described are representative of those needed to successfully perform the essential duties of the position. Reasonable accommodation will be made to allow otherwise qualified candidates to perform these functions.


  • Ability to communicate via telephone, video, and/or in-person.
  • Vision adequate to read documents, computer screens, forms.
  • Ability to remain stationary for extended periods.
  • Ability to lift, carry, or otherwise move up to 25 pounds.
  • Ability to use keyboard and view computer screens for extended periods.
  • Ability to travel locally and long-distance as needed.
  • Ability to move around offices and clinics as needed.

EmpID None Specified 

supervisorUID None Specified 

AscUDF_RecruitmentInfo_PriorYearsofExpereince None Specified 

This position is currently accepting applications.

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