National Certified Recovery Specialist Code of Ethics 

The Illinois Peer Recovery Code of Ethics is a compilation of elements from the Illinois Model of Peer Recovery, the Illinois Peer Support Consortium, SAMHSA Core Competencies, National Ethical Guidelines and Practice Standards, and the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist Code of Ethics.

The primary responsibility of the Peer Specialist is to support the recovery of the individual and assist them in achieving their own needs, wants, and goals. Peer Specialists are guided by the principle of self-determination for all and shall serve as advocates for the people they serve. Peer Specialists will maintain high standards of personal conduct that foster their own recovery journey.

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to outline the fundamental values and expectations of Peer Specialist practice. The code will serve as a guide for National Certified Recovery Specialist (NCRS) by defining responsibility and ethical standards for this discipline.

Principle I. Personal Recovery

I – a. Specialists shall keep their personal recovery first.

I – b. Specialists shall attest to two years of abstinence from alcohol and/or illicit substances and must not return to use.

I – b. Specialists shall notify their peer supervisor if they experience a reoccurrence.

Principle II. Recovery Story

II – a. Specialists shall share their lived experiences to help others and shall accurately represent their recovery stories.

Principle III. Respectful Services

          III – a. Specialists shall provide services respectfully.

          III – b. Specialists shall affirm the rights and dignity of each person served.

          III – c. Specialists shall empower others to identify and achieve their needs and goals.

          III – d. Specialists shall advocate for individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders.

III – e. Specialists shall not discontinue services without notifying the person they serve and will make referrals for continued services when appropriate.

III – f. Specialists shall only provide services within their area of experience, training, competence, and scope of practice.

III – g. Specialists shall not deny services based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, political belief, language, criminal history, socioeconomic status, and/or physical or mental condition.

III – h. Specialists shall communicate the roles and responsibilities of the peer-to-peer relationship with the people they serve.

       III – i. Specialists shall avoid dual relationships with individuals they serve.

IV. Confidentiality

IV – a. Specialists shall respect the privacy of the individuals they serve and follow confidentiality guidelines in keeping with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) and Part Two – Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records (CFR Part Two).

IV – b. Confidentiality shall be discussed at the beginning of services.

IV – c. Specialists shall tell their supervisor and the local child/adult protective agency if they suspect or have reason to believe a child, individual over the age of sixty-two, or individual with a developmental disability has been abused or neglected or if they have knowledge of or observe a child being subjected to conditions that would reasonably result in harm.

IV – d. Specialists shall follow proper documentation procedures in keeping with federal, state, and agency laws/guidelines.

V. Conduct

V – a. Specialists shall not use coercion, manipulation, physical force, verbal/emotional abuse, or make promises of benefits when providing services.

V – b. Specialists shall not accept gifts valued over $25 from individuals they are providing services to without consulting their Peer Supervisor and documenting the situation.

V – c. Specialists shall never engage in sexual/intimate relations with individuals they serve, immediate family members of individuals they serve, or provide services to individuals with whom they have had a prior sexual relationship.

V – d. Specialists shall not engage in or condone any form of harassment, including sexual or verbal harassment.

V – e. Specialists shall not provide any independent service which would result in personal gain or use their position to receive or encourage direct or indirect personal gain.

VI. Professional Development

VI – a. Specialists shall improve their personal recovery service knowledge/skills through ongoing education and training.

VI – b. Specialists shall continue to work within their scope of practice while maintaining their credential requirements.

VII. Resolving Ethical Concerns

VII – a. Specialists shall adhere to and uphold the Illinois Peer Recovery Code of Ethics and hold other Peer Specialists to the same ethical and legal standards.

VII – b. Specialists shall not be able to use lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of ethical responsibility as a defense against a complaint of unethical conduct.

VII – c. Specialists shall be required to participate in and abide by all disciplinary actions and rulings based on the Illinois Peer Recovery Code of Ethics.

VII – d. Specialists shall seek and document supervision and/or consultation if ethical responsibilities conflict with agency policies and procedures or other laws and regulations.

VII – e. Specialists shall discuss conflicts between the Illinois Peer Recovery Code of Ethics and agency policies and procedures with their supervisor to determine the best course of action.

VII – f. Specialists who have direct knowledge that another Peer Specialist or Peer Supervisor is violating or has violated an ethical standard must file an ethics complaint to the Illinois Peer Ethics Review Committee.                              

VII – g. Specialists shall not initiate, participate in, or encourage filing an ethics or grievance complaint to retaliate against another person.