Office of Alcoholism and
Substance Abuse Services


Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) Canon of Ethical Principles


  1. Must practice objectivity and integrity; maintain the highest standards in the services offered; respect the values, attitudes and opinions of others; and provide services only in an appropriate professional relationship.
  2. Must not discriminate in work-related activities based on race, religion, age, gender, disabilities, ethnicity, national origins, sexual orientation, economic condition or any other basis proscribed by law.
  3. Must respect the integrity and protect the welfare of the person or group with whom the counselor is working.
  4. Must embrace, as a primary obligation, the duty of protecting the privacy of patients and must not disclose confidential information or records under his/her control in strict accordance with federal, state and local laws.
  5. Must not engage in relationships with patients, former patients or their significant others in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the patient.
  6. Must not engage in any sexual activity with current or former patients or their significant others.
  7. Must not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment.
  8. Must not exploit patients or others over whom they have a position of authority.
  9. Must treat colleagues and other professionals with respect, courtesy and fairness and cooperate in order to serve the best interests of their patients.
  10. Must notify appropriate authorities, including employers and OASAS, when they have direct knowledge of a colleague's impairment or misconduct which interferes with treatment effectiveness and potentially places patients and others at risk.
  11. Is expected to recognize the effects of their own impairment on professional performance and must not provide services that create conflict of interest or impair work performance and clinical judgment.
  12. Must cooperate with investigations, proceedings, and requirements of OASAS or other authorities that have jurisdiction over those charged with a violation.
  13. Must not participate in the filing of ethics complaints that are frivolous or have a purpose other than to protect the public.
  14. Must assure that financial practices are in accord with professional standards that safeguard the best interests of the patient, the counselor and the profession.
  15. Must take reasonable steps to ensure that documentation in records is accurate, sufficient and timely thereby ensuring appropriateness and continuity of services provided to patients.
  16. Must uphold the legal and accepted moral codes which pertain to professional conduct.
  17. Must recognize the need for ongoing education to maintain current competence, and to improve expertise and skills.
  18. Must acknowledge the limits of present knowledge in public statements concerning alcoholism and substance abuse. The Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor must report fairly and accurately the appropriate information, and must acknowledge and document materials and techniques used.
  19. Must assign credit to all who have contributed to the published material and for the work upon which publication is based.
  20. Must strive to inform the public, of the effects of alcoholism and substance abuse. The Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor must adopt a personal and professional stance which promotes the well-being of the recovery community.

(Adapted from the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors "Ethical Standards of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors")