Drug abuse in America has skyrocketed, and drug overdoses have claimed more American lives last year than were lost in the entire Vietnam War. Despite the daily horror stories in the news and multiple governmental initiatives aimed at curbing this epidemic, drug addiction still seems to be on its deadly rise.
The truth is that addiction is a terrible and deadly disease, and each individual who has fallen prey to it needs help. Some people seek assistance through counselors or rehab facilities, while others are required to get treatment after running afoul of the law.
There is a huge need for qualified counselors who can help people who are abusing drugs. If you are interested in helping people through a difficult time in their lives, and in helping your community and your country to recover from the epidemic sweeping the nation, you should consider whether becoming substance abuse specialist might be right for you.
If you are considering pursuing training to become a drug counselor, this list shows why a career in this field is especially important and fulfilling.
1. Residents in Every State in the Country Need Help
Literally, every state in the United States of America has been touched by the opioid epidemic. 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose every day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2016 the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. Significant increases were also seen in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The one bright spot in this bleak landscape is the opportunity to help: it is all across the country. If you think you might want to be a drug counselor, your skills would be needed in almost every state of the union.
A licensed drug counselor has plenty of opportunities to help people and has wide flexibility in choosing where to live and work.
2. Substance Use Disorder Affects All Ends of the Socioeconomic Spectrum
In the 1980s when crack became a problem, many thought the issue was confined to lower income neighborhoods and communities.
While the current drug crisis is certainly prevalent in lower income areas, it also exists in middle-class communities and even in the highest economic brackets.
People in all kinds of professions are getting addicted, including doctors and lawyers.
Drug counselors are in demand from all aspects of society. They are needed in schools and universities. They are needed in private hospitals and exclusive private rehabs. They can find jobs in major cities and in small suburban towns.
There is a need for substance abuse counseling in almost every community in the country.
3. Drug Addiction is Challenging to Treat
Sadly, the situation of drug abuse in America means that the need for drug counselors is unlikely to abate any time soon.
Substance use disorder is a disease of relapse: relapse is rates are estimated to occur between 40 and 60 percent of the time.
That means people who want to get clean may need repeat treatment. They may need to see their counselors long after they have essentially kicked the habit because relapse can occur months or years after a patient has begun to recover.
4. The Role of the Healthcare System in the Epidemic Has Been Complicated
Many stories in the news have pointed to the role that Big Pharma has played in the drug crisis. Many large pharmaceutical companies allegedly perpetuated a culture where addictive painkillers were widely prescribed.
Doctors also have been found to have been complicit in this situation. Many unscrupulous physicians over prescribed opiates, creating more and more drug addicts.
Even the government has been implicated as allowing this proliferation of drugs to continue.
Gradually, as awareness grows of the dangers of opioids, healthcare professionals and systems are responding. The distribution of prescription painkillers is being more closely curtailed.
Counseling is becoming increasingly encouraged and made available. Some insurance plans will cover treatment and more and more employers are offering this option.
5. Many People in Recovery Can Provide Effective Counseling
Much of the therapy offered in professional rehabilitation facilities and 12 step programs rely on the ability of alcoholics and addicts to help each other.
Because effective counseling requires trust, sometimes addicts feel more comfortable talking to other addicts, They think that others might not understand them.
Occasionally, by opening up about their own experiences, former addicts can get others into recovery.
You do not need to be an addict to treat drug addiction in others. However, if you have shared the experience, you will probably be able to bring to the job an empathy for the patients that will be helpful in their treatment.
Often recovering addicts find that helping others helps them too; their suffering can now serve a purpose by helping others.
6. The Need for Treatment Counselors is High
The statistics on substance use disorder in this country are staggering. You can be of great assistance in this war on drugs.
If you are looking for a career where you can help people on a daily basis improve their lives, you might consider taking a course in substance abuse counseling. This no-cost online class looks at the work-life of a substance use disorder counselor, and will show you why this may be the career for you!
It does not take a long time to get certification in this specialty. Depending on the level of license you are seeking, you can start helping people in some cases in less than two years.
Because of the pervasiveness of the drug situation in this country, a certification or license to treat substance abuse is a valuable credential that can help you get work in many different places of employment.
Drug Abuse in America: You Can Be Part of the Solution
Most people have been affected by the epidemic of drug abuse in America. If you are one of those people, you may feel hopeless to create change.
That’s not the truth. If you want to help your friends, community, and country combat the scourge of drug addiction, you can do it.
For more information on how to become a substance abuse counselor, check out our website.