Addiction treatment providers help treat millions of people each year for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. However, there are still tens of millions more who need support, especially in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As an addiction specialist or support staff member, you can help bridge this treatment gap and provide life-saving assistance for addicted individuals, their families and their communities. Access to Addiction Treatment Is More Essential Now Than Ever Florida has been in the midst of an opioid epidemic for years, with opioids being involved in 3,189 (68%) of the state’s 4,698 overdose deaths in 2018. There were 2,175 drug overdose deaths in 2014, meaning that rates have more than doubled in less than a decade. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Recovery Village conducted a survey that found Americans were using substances more frequently to cope with isolation, stress and mental health concerns. Using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate can cause someone to use more of a substance to get the same effects and lead to addiction. This can result in unintentional overdoses, and data shows that’s exactly what occurred: overdoses rose throughout the country during the pandemic. In Central Florida, drug overdose deaths skyrocketed 70% compared to the same six-month period a year earlier. Statewide, overdose deaths rose by 43% in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. How Substance Abuse Counselors and Addiction Treatment Providers Make a Difference Addiction treatment providers, specialists and support staff work in a variety of different roles. There are many different career paths within the addiction treatment and recovery industry, but they all share the same goal of helping people find a happier, healthier, substance-free future. Addiction Prevention and Community Education Addiction professionals may work in the community, raising awareness about addiction resources and educating people on the risks of substance use. Meanwhile, they work to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and prevent people from reaching out when they need help. These professionals also work with the friends, family members and loved ones of people with addiction, teaching them helpful strategies to support a person’s recovery while maintaining personal well-being. They may work with employers, schools and other organizations to create drug policies and provide services for those who are struggling. Diagnosis and Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders In a clinical setting, addiction specialists are responsible for diagnosing and treating substance use disorders and any co-occurring mental health conditions. This involves creating individualized treatment plans for clients to follow, prescribing maintenance medication, assisting in medical detox and monitoring client progress throughout recovery. Addiction specialists provide individual and group therapy, counseling, and ongoing support throughout the recovery process while clients learn to adapt to life without substances. They may help clients transition to sober living environments, put them in touch with peer-led support groups and create relapse prevention strategies to help them remain sober. Is a Career in Addiction Treatment Right for You? If you are a caring, compassionate individual looking to make a difference each day, a role in addiction treatment and recovery may be the perfect fit for you. The Recovery Village at Baptist Health and its sister facilities employ over 800 professionals nationwide. We provide each staff member with fulfilling careers bolstered by a suite of competitive benefits, including health, vision, dental, paid time off, 401(k) and more. Career Openings at The Recovery Village The Recovery Village at Baptist Health is always looking to add new professionals to our multidisciplinary teams of addiction specialists. You can view an up-to-date list of our current openings on our career portal page. Sources:National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Florida: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms.” April 3, 2020. Accessed July 13, 2021. Florida Health. “Florida Drug Overdose Surveillance and Epidemiology (FL-DOSE).” March 9, 2020. Accessed July 13, 2021. Santich, Kate. “Central Florida drug OD deaths up 70% during COVID, report shows.” Orlando Sentinel, December 2, 2020. Accessed July 13, 2021.