In 2017, 36% of advisors reported having a client or a client’s family member struggling with drug addiction. And the numbers are undoubtedly higher now, as the U.S. government just reported that overdose deaths last year soared to a record 93,000. That’s an increase of almost 30% over the previous year and is equivalent to 250 deaths every single day or about 11 every hour. The deaths are not just among poor or disadvantaged communities either. Families of wealth are quite often affected. If you haven’t yet encountered drug problems in your client base, you likely will.
The reasons for this recent increase are complex, but regardless of cause, your client families who struggle with addiction need resources to help prevent a family member’s overdose death. Here is a brief listing of valuable aid you can offer:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a wonderful free brochure titled The Overdose Prevention Toolkit. Get several copies from their website and put them in your waiting area in a rack so clients can take one, or you can offer it to any family who is struggling with an addicted member. (There is a Spanish version as well).
- Order additional resources from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
- The Association of Intervention Specialists is the most widely accepted network of professionals who assist families in conducting interventions aimed at getting help for addicts.
- Find Treatment is a searchable directory of 13,000 licensed treatment providers. You can search by type of treatment - i.e. inpatient, detox, telemedicine, payment options, or whether treatment is medication-assisted (which is statistically proven to vastly improve outcomes). You can also search by focus – i.e. youth, veterans, LGBTQ, etc.
- The Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation is the leading nonprofit provider of resources and treatment around the country. They have a wealth of resources and advocacy programs, and even include a specialized program for kids living in families affected by addiction. (Note that 2.1 million kids in the U.S. live with an addicted parent).
- The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids sponsors a parent hotline via phone (1-855-DRUGFREE) or text (55753), as well as providing information and resources.
By providing resources like these in your clients’ most challenging times, you set yourself apart as an uncommonly knowledgeable advisor who provides resources they didn’t expect. It’s an easy way to truly serve client families, which is always your goal. Then it will come back to you, generating trust, loyalty, and referrals.