Addiction can affect more than just the person who is battling the disease; it can often take an emotional and physical toll on loved ones, family, friends, and even those in the community. But your involvement in recovery efforts can have a positive impact, giving a voice and resources to those in need. If you are someone who is looking to give your time and support to the local recovery community but you are not sure where to start, we have five steps to help you get out there and starting making a difference.
Take a look online and research advocacy sites. There are a lot of supportive organizations that provide recovery resources. Many organizations partner with treatment facilities, addiction and mental illness professionals, local representatives, as well as committees to promote outreach.
Major advocacy organizations like Substance use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH), and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) work to provide programs, informational campaigns, offer training, and feature professional speakers across the nation to address topics like the opioid epidemic, alcoholism risks, and practices to tackle chronic pain and mental illnesses; which are often conditions those with addiction also struggle with.
Visit local shelters and homelessness programs or call your city government. It’s likely that your local shelter works with other programs in the area to provide treatment, counseling opportunities, and support to individuals who may have substance disorders. Shelters and programs are often overlooked and are always accepting volunteers. Call your city hall and ask to be transferred either to the city’s youth development or community services department. Government programs usually provide funding for community initiatives and should have information about neighborhoods, shelters, and individuals who are in need.
Attend informational and advocacy events in your area. Look for events on social media, visit your public library and ask if they have a list of community speeches approaching that interest you. Look out for youth group events or community forums hosted by public schools. Frequently, you will find clubs or committees with a focus on homelessness, youth, first-responders and other related affiliations. Often these groups will discuss how addiction or other illnesses might affect their target audience.
All of the previously mentioned tips should aid you in your familiarity in recovery efforts but you can do more to educate yourself. Visit an area community college or university, the school system interacts directly with those with addiction problems and provide some sort of helping hand. Since addiction is a growing issue in the U.S., a lot of schools are seeing an increased demand for degrees or certifications related to social work, addiction, and psychology, now finding free and open discussions about rehabilitation issues are more accessible.
Most importantly, if you notice that someone might be struggling with a substance use disorder, ask. Many times those who are abusing their alcohol, painkillers or who are seeking illicit drugs will deny their dependency. Introduce help and discuss options to approach the problem.
Las Vegas Resources
If you are in the Las Vegas area, here are a few unique recovery organizations you can explore:
Las Vegas Recovery Center’s Alumni Association: LVRC Alumni Association is a non-profit organization that provides a supportive environment to those living a recovery-centered life after battling addiction. The Alumni Association not only hosts a variety of events and recovery-related workshops, but also helps people gain access to treatment who otherwise could not afford it.
Mission High School: The Clark County School District (CCSD) has a specialized recovery high school that enrolls students battling drug and alcohol addiction. This school provides rehabilitation programs to encourage sober living and makes learning interactive by having monthly guest speakers and activities.
Foundation for Recovery: Foundation for Recovery (FFR) provides help and educational opportunities in regards to the disease of addiction, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. FFR has a goal to connect anyone interested in recovery or are in need of treatment to the proper resources in the Las Vegas area.
State of Nevada Association for Addiction Professionals: Is an organization with an NCADD affiliation and is dedicated to connecting addiction professionals to advocate for research and outreach initiatives. This group also works to provide public educational presentations and discusses preventative treatment and recovery support.
The Center: The LQBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada provides a variety of services for all adults and children in Southern Nevada. For anyone in need, The Center will provide resources like food, shelter, mental health support groups, as well as addiction counseling and medical services.
Nevada Recovery Political Action Committee: Is a committee established to support legislators who understand and champion self-directed, community-supported recovery.
Department of Youth Development and Social Innovation: The City of Las Vegas supports school programming and community partnerships designed to improve educational achievement, attendance, and graduation rates. These programs directly affect the youth of Las Vegas, many who see poverty and substance use in their home-lives.
Las Vegas Rescue Mission: Las Vegas Rescue Mission provides assistance for men, women and children in the community that are facing homelessness, hunger and life-controlling addictions. This organization works with others in the community to provide clothing, food, shelter, and recovery programs to turn lives around.