Screening & Information Specialist (All Shifts)

Brief Overview:

We are seeking Screening and Information Specialists (SIS) for the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline (MA Helpline) and the Illinois Opioid and Other Drug Helpline (IL Helpline), and soon a substance use helpline for the state of Vermont. SIS must be able to establish rapport with callers, elicit relevant information, effectively communicate by phone and online chat, gather and record data, accurately assess Helpline users’ needs, provider referrals to appropriate services, and motivate and support them to follow through with accessing substance abuse and related services.

Position Description:

Operated by HRiA for more than 20 years, the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline (MA Helpline) provides free and confidential information and referrals for substance use problems and related concerns across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances (IL Helpline) is a newer project focusing on increasing access to opioid use disorder treatment and reducing opioid related death in Illinois. Launched in December 2017, the IL Helpline provides free and confidential information and referrals for opioid and other drug use problems and related concerns to residents of Illinois. Over the coming year, the IL Helpline will continue to roll out additional services and enhancements to meet the needs of Illinois residents and build awareness of the service. HRiA will soon begin development of a substance use helpline for the state of Vermont. The Helplines are committed to linking consumers with comprehensive, accurate, and current information about substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and recovery services in their area. HRiA anticipates continued growth of our Helpline services, and is developing capacity and creating opportunities for team members to be involved in program development and have enhanced reach and impact on those affected by Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

The Helpline contact center is the hub for both the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances and the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline, and soon the substance use helpline for the state of Vermont. Screening and Information Specialists (SIS) comprise most of the contact center team and respond to incoming inquiries from people in each state, via phone, chat, or text. Two Masters-level Clinicians will supervise a portion of the SIS, implement follow-up services, and provide additional coverage and supervisory support. Managing contact center activities are two Managers, Helplines Services, one focused on content expertise in SUD and contact center operations and the other focused on team management and development. The Managers, Helpline Services will report to Project Managers, one overseeing the IL Helpline project, and the other for the MA and VT Helplines. Additional Helpline team members deliver and support program operations, marketing and communication, web management, and data analysis and management. The larger team is overseen by the Director, Substance Use Services.

For more information about the organization and projects, visit:

Helpline SIS are responsible for responding to incoming calls and online chat and SMS text messages from individuals seeking information about and assistance with accessing substance use services for themselves, a family member or friend, and/or a client. SIS are responsible for assessing Helpline users’ needs, determining the most appropriate substance use prevention, treatment, and/or recovery support service options, identifying available options (through the Helplines’ databases), and referring callers to those services.  The SIS provide accurate information, education, support, and referrals in a non-judgmental, respectful, and culturally competent manner. SIS may also assist with other Helpline projects and duties as needed or available. Examples include assisting in training new staff, updating the Helpline databases, and participating in hiring processes. SIS positions are hourly, full- and part-time positions are available. SIS working more than 17.5 hours per week (half-time or greater) are eligible for HRiA benefits.  This is a non-exempt, part-time position.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Project Work

  • Assess the needs of Helpline users by telephone, online chat, and SMS texting.
  • Provide appropriate information and referrals to substance use and related services.
  • Reliably staff the Helpline as scheduled.
  • Engage and motivate users to follow through on referrals through use of active listening and motivational interviewing techniques.
  • Obtain feedback on interactions with Helpline users.
  • Provide service availability information and other provider details through approved sources.
  • Gather and record data from users in Helpline database.
  • Verify users’ insurance status, as applicable.
  • Escalate consumers interactions to Helpline clinicians and/or supervisor when applicable.
  • Represent the Helpline at outreach events, meetings, and/or presentations as needed.


  • Participate in hiring processes for new Helpline staff as needed.
  • Assist in the training and mentoring of new Helpline staff as needed.
  • Assist in updating Helpline database of state licensed and approved substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services as appropriate.

Thought Leadership

  • Continue to build and develop expertise in substance use disorders
  • Suggest ideas/improvements through participation in teams and committees
  • Consistently attend and actively participate in Helpline meetings and other activities to develop skills and make suggestions for project enhancements.

New Business Development

  • Maintain updated resume and bio for use in new business proposals
  • Assist with technical components of new business proposals as needed

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, or related field, or 5 years of related experience in lieu of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Certified Resource Specialist (through AIRS) preferred or willingness to obtain within one year of hire.
  • Experience in information and referral services, customer service, counseling, substance use, or human services required.
  • Ability to adapt to changes in work environment and expectations.
  • Customer/consumer focused with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good computer skills and experience and/or ability to use online systems and databases.
  • Openness to information that may be different from personal views.
  • Willingness to work with consumers who may be ambivalent, resistant, impaired or have psychological disorders.
  • Must be open to providing information about a variety of treatment options and paths to recovery based on a caller’s needs.
  • Must be respectful of cultural differences and value diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • Must have high ethical standards and a willingness to comply with professional expectations.
  • Demonstrated history of dependability needed.
  • Two years of sobriety requested for people in recovery.
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) preferred
  • Preference will be given to applicants with flexible or weekday availability


Training in addiction, screening, treatment services, and resources is provided. Hours for this position are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, but may be flexible, and the position may include weekend or overnight on-call duties. The MA Helpline is open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and weekends and holidays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The IL Helpline is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.

This description is intended to indicate the kinds of work duties that will be required in this position. It is not intended to limit, or in any way modify, the rights of any supervisor to assign, direct, and contract work of staff under his/her supervision. The use of a particular illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties, not mentioned, that are of a similar level or difficulty

How to Apply:

HRiA is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced staff. The organization encourages multiple perspectives and experiences, supports a multicultural environment, and strives to hire and retain a diverse work force that reflects the populations we work with and the communities where we work. Diversity is a core value of HRiA resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds.

HRiA is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.

Health Resources in Action offers an attractive benefits package including medical, dental and life insurance, retirement plan, tax-deferred annuity, and generous vacation.

To apply, submit your cover letter and resume online.

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