Advanced Learning for Addiction Professionals

Current Training Courses

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) 46-hour Training

Roff Institute at CARES logoCourse Description: The CPRS is our flagship training, laying out the foundational principles of CARES; empowering recovering individuals to use their own lived experience to help others struggling with alcohol and drug problems. These individuals may be in recovery themselves, family or friends or simply allies in the field of addiction and recovery.

The CPRS training is 46 hours in total and those training hours can be tailored to the needs of the community. The training uses internationally recognized non-clinical approaches to help others within four domains: Mentoring and Education, Recovery and Wellness, Advocacy and Ethical Responsibilities.

A Certified Peer Recovery Specialist offers support and services to individuals across a recovery continuum; from working with the individual still using, helping the person who choose recovery to initiate, stabilize and refer to treatment if they so choose, and finally, provide ongoing support and services for those already in recovery. The CPRS aligns itself with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by defining recovery as a consisting of multiple pathways, self-directed and connected to community and culture, trauma informed and holistic and emerging from hope that recovery is not only possible, it can and does happen every day.

Here is the incredible story behind the creation of this credential. In 2016, The Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey, Inc. commissioned Prevention Is Key to develop a Peer Credential specific to individuals with alcohol and drug problems for the State of New Jersey. The certification board is a member of the International Credentialing and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), and 48 of the 50 states in United States are members as well as board members in South Asia, Canada and Europe. The CPRS is reciprocal with 21 other member boards, which means certified individuals can be recognized and relocate if they choose to do so as a CPRS. PIK was able to develop the curriculum for NJ and have the initial training in the CARES Recovery Center in July of 2016. Since that time, the CPRS has been trained across the state of NJ numerous times, with over 350 individuals trained and over 250 of those trainees become fully certified.

To date, PIK has licensed four other agencies in NJ to train the CPRS and worked with three academic institutions to create college courses based on our curriculum at Ocean County College, Camden County College and a continuing education course at County College of Morris.

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Trauma Informed Care for Peer Recovery Specialists

Course Description: Research and data are confirming that up 75% of individuals who have a Substance Use Disorder have reported significant trauma in their lives. Becoming “trauma-informed means recognizing that people often have different types of trauma in their lives. Often, trauma survivors can be re-traumatized by well-meaning caregivers, including a CPRS.

ROFF classroom

Upon completion of this training, individuals will better understand what trauma means, including:

  • different types of trauma
  • the impact trauma has on predicting adverse adult experience
  • recognize trauma responses in those we are trying to help
  • how to become aware of our own trauma, especially considering the impact of working with traumatized individuals has on your own self-care and your own possible trauma
  • how do we work with other’s trauma while understanding and accepting your own limitations,
  • when and how to make to a proper referral for a person experiencing severe PTSD type symptoms

Developing Cultural Competency in Peer Recovery Specialists working with LGBTQ+ Populations

Course Description: Upon completion of this training, individuals will learn how to be culturally competent as peers simply trying to help another suffering human being, while being aware of special circumstances required of helping the LGBTQ+ populations such as:

  • the social construction of gender and sexuality and the implications it has on individuals who are abusing substances and/or looking for recovery
  • most importantly, the person being helped decides whether their gender and/or sexuality has anything to do with their recovery pathway

Meeting Someone “As” They Are: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Peer Work

Course Description: The popular phrase in recovery circles is to meet someone “where they are.” However, peer work demands us to also meet someone “as” they are; not simply where they are on their addiction and recovery journey but their identity as a human being. How have discrimination, racism and violent threats impacted their relationship with drugs and alcohol, if at all. In this training we will explore the roles of race, ethnicity, and culture and understanding through examples of how different cultures understand problematic alcohol and drug use. We will also observe and learn how a peer can become culturally competent to understand the particularities of how race, ethnicity and culture play into helping those who wish to recover as a peer.

CPRS for Veterans by Veterans

Course Description: The goal of this training is to train veterans in the CPRS, with a facilitator who is a veteran themselves. Serving in the military is a unique experience that is often hard to translate into everyday language about use of alcohol or drugs and the possibilities of recovery. This training will place a heavy focus on PTSD as experienced by veterans and the pervasive use of drugs and alcohol while serving, as well as problems returning home and relating to a world they were trained to forget.

This class will provide a unique opportunity for someone who served the country to speak their truth in a safe environment with others who can truly and mutually identify with issues of:

  • having to return to civilian life
  • be intimate with family members who could not possibly understand
  • the experience of flashbacks
  • hyper-vigilance and rage
  • how the urge for the comfort of a drink or a drug might be different than that of a civilian and how that impacts the “how and why” of recovery for a veteran

Working with Individuals with Co-Occurring Issues as a Peer

Course Description: Recent data and research are showing large increases with people who have co-occurring mental health issues and substance use disorders. As a CPRS you are trained to use your own lived experience to help another with whom you can identify, learn from and respect. If there is a connection between yourself as a CPRS and the person you are helping in terms of mental health issues, there will be a strong urge to share your own experience with them.

This training is designed to enter that land of self-disclosure very mindfully, with a proper sense of boundaries and ethical guidelines in terms of uses of medication. Similar to how a substance use disorder diagnosis exists on a spectrum, the same is true of most mental health issues. The symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. The help you give someone in terms of non-clinical assistance with a drug and alcohol problem will depend upon where the person you are helping is on that spectrum.

Upon completion of this training, students will understand what is meant by the spectrum of “co-occurring,” how that diagnosis or label can either help or hurt that person, and how to best serve them if-and-when a referral becomes necessary.

The role of Certified Peer Recovery Specialists:

Who are Peer Recovery Specialists and what do they do? Can peer recovery specialists operate within a harm reduction paradigm or do they only move individuals toward abstinence?

With the emerging trend toward harm reduction practices across the country ranging from Medicated Assisted Treatment to less formal practices as needle exchange services, safe injection sites, access to naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips it is important to understand the role of peers under these circumstances. This training helps identify how a Peer Recovery Philosophy operates within the context of a harm reduction framework:

  • moving individuals toward their own self-defined pathway of recovery toward multiple pathways of recovery
  • not making abstinence the only acceptable goal
  • participation in 12 step philosophy optional

This Training provides 6 Renewal credits for all certifications governed by the Addictions Professionals Certification Board of NJ.

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Meet the teacher:

The Roff Institute was named after Patrick Roff. Patrick Roff is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy.  Patrick is Co-Founder of the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), a peer operated recovery center in Rockaway, NJ. and is currently working as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor at Excel Treatment Center in Dover, NJ. He is the author of the original Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) curriculum that leads to state certification for the CPRS in New Jersey. Patrick continues to create curriculum and train peer-related classes at CARES; including Peer Oversight and Management, The Role of Peers in a Harm Reduction Framework, Developing Cultural Competency in Peer Recovery Specialists working with LGBTQ+ Populations and Peer Work within Diverse Ethnic and Race Populations.