The Counselor Code of Conduct provides comprehensive documentation on how to behave in the profession of an SUD Counselor. SUD Counselors, by the very nature of their work, must be held to a high standard of ethics as they work with a vulnerable population. There are three basic principles with extensive descriptions of each including: individual conduct, conduct with others, and conduct relating to licensing and regulations. A Code of Conduct must be signed with the Initial Certification application and the Exam. Download the document at the bottom of this page.

Adopted May 2012


The current California Regulations governing registrants and certified alcohol and other drug (AOD)
counselors require each certifying organization (CO) to develop a code of conduct which establishes
“minimum” standards that are designed to safeguard the rights of clients in SUD programs and facilities. CO’s
may impose more stringent standards that do not conflict with the standards contained within this Uniform
Code of Conduct.

Principle 1

Registrants and Certified AOD Counselors shall conduct themselves in an honest, forthright and professional
manner. Registrants and Counselors are prohibited from engaging in the commission of any dishonest, corrupt,
or fraudulent act substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a registrant or counselor
including but not limited to the following:

a. Securing a registration, certification or renewal by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation on any
application or material in support of any application for registration certification or renewal;
b. Misrepresenting the type or status of registration or certification held by the person, or otherwise
misrepresenting or permitting misrepresentation of his or her education, professional qualifications
or professional affiliations to any person, program or entity;
c. Refusal or failure to provide proper identifying registration, credential, certification or license where
appropriate or required (e.g., when offering or providing AOD counseling services, on business
cards, on informational or marketing materials, etc.);
d. Advertising, marketing or promoting programs, services, training, education or experience in a false
and misleading manner, as set forth in Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq.

Principle 2

Registrants and Certified AOD counselors shall maintain professionally appropriate boundaries with clients
and family members of clients and shall conduct themselves in a professional, non-exploitive and lawful
manner, and are prohibited from:

e. Engaging in inappropriate social relationships, sexual relations or soliciting sexual relations with a
client or with a former client within two years from the termination date of the counseling
f. Committing an act of sexual abuse, misconduct or an act punishable as a sexually related crime;
g. Engaging in a business relationship with clients, patients, program participants, residents and/or
other persons significant to them within one year from the termination of the counseling relationship;
h. Physically, verbally, sexually harassing, threatening or abusing other staff members, clients,
patients, program participants, residents and/or other persons significant to any of the above;
i. Unlawfully administering to himself or herself any controlled substance as defined in Section 4021
of the California Business and Professions Code (B&P), or using any of the dangerous drugs or
devices specified in Section 4022 of the B&P, or using any alcoholic beverage to the extent, or in a
manner, as to be dangerous or injurious to the person holding or applying for a registration,
certification or license or to any other person, or to the public.

Principle 3

Registrants and Certified AOD counselors shall comply with all Federal and State Laws and Regulations that
pertain to patient/client confidentiality, mandated reporting exceptions, record keeping requirements and
patient/client records access. Registrants and Certified AOD counselors are prohibited from:

a. Violating client/patient confidentiality except as required or permitted by law including, but not
limited to, Title 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2, Child Abuse, Elder Abuse and Public Safety
laws and Regulations;
b. Failing to maintain records consistent with the nature of the services being rendered;
c. Refusing or denying patient/client access to charts and records as required by law;
d. Violating, attempting to violate or conspiring to violate any law or regulation governing AOD
registrants, certified or licensed AOD counselor.
1 California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 9, Division 4, Chapter 8, Sections 13000, et seq., as enacted April 1, 2005.
2 CCR Title 9, Div. 4, Chap. 8, Section 13060.
3 CCR Title 9, Div. 4, Chap. 8, Section 13060(f).