Nigel Radcliffe has been involved in substance misuse in different capacities for most of his adult life. Following his own experiences of treatment and ongoing recovery, Nigel trained as a social worker in 1980 and spent several years in local authority social work. He first began in the drug and alcohol field as the social worker at the Southend Drug & Alcohol Advisory Service, which in 1985 was one of the new local multi-disciplinary services offering help to chronic drug users. Essentially this was the first drug prescribing service outside London which offered methadone maintenance and pioneered these services in the provinces. Nigel stayed with this service for four years before returning to manage a child protection team in Essex for two years.
In 1991 he was made the director of one of The Priory hospitals major addiction treatment programmes, which involved setting up and running a twelve-step-based treatment programme.