More than 21 million Americans suffer from addiction. And getting care isn’t easy, as just 3,000 physicians are specially trained to treat people who have substance use disorders. However, there are a number of ways you can help people with addiction find the help they need. Here are some places to start.
Start with information
If you’re seeking addiction prevention and treatment resources in your community, there are a few places to start. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHS) National Helpline is a free, confidential information resource that is staffed 24/7 and 365 days per year. Also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, provides referrals in English and Spanish to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations that treat mental health issues and substance use disorders. The number is 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. You can also use the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message to 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Your physician or local hospital or medical center may also have information about local resources.
If you’re concerned about the rates of addiction in your community or nationwide, there are a number of ways to get involved. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has a national network of affiliates that rely on volunteers for advocacy, help with events and fundraisers, and help with administrative tasks. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is seeking advocates to help its legislative efforts to expand access to mental health and substance abuse treatment resources. You can get action alerts and learn how to get involved here. You may also have local substance abuse treatment and prevention organizations in your community that need help and volunteers. Local libraries are often good sources of information about community nonprofits. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is another organization fighting to make the roads safer from impaired drivers and has many volunteer opportunities.
Help fight smoking addiction
Smoking can also be addictive, and quitting has many health benefits. The American Lung Association runs the Freedom From Smoking® program, providing resources to host your own clinic. Leaders can introduce participants to cessation techniques, coordinate activities, and facilitate group interaction. Learn more and volunteer here.
Offer personal support
Starting on the road to recovery can be intimidating. You can help someone find the support they need by accompanying them to a program meeting. Just pointing someone in the right direction when you learn of a problem can help ensure your friends and family get the help they need. These links below are great places to start.
To find more volunteer opportunities, visit www.createthegood.org.
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