Tips for Nonprofits Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

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As the seriousness of opioid addiction has grown more widespread, so have the number of nonprofits organized to address problems related to it. There is a lot of work to be done, from helping addicts and their loved ones cope with addiction to establishing programs to prevent abuse. Nonprofits that are considering getting into this work should keep some important ideas in mind.

  • People recovering from addiction can face related emotional and behavioral changes.

Like any addiction, opioid dependency can rob sufferers of good judgement. For a nonprofit that wants to work directly with people who are dealing with addiction, it’s important to recognize that recovery is a potentially long process during which an individual may go through mood shifts and behavioral challenges. Patients who have become addicted to opioids may also be dealing with injuries, depression, difficulties with careers, and other issues that can complicate recovery. This means that subjects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, potentially dangerous. A nonprofit needs to account for this risk through its policies and by purchasing appropriate insurance.

  • Counseling involves potential risk.

An organization that plans to offer counseling services, such as a suicide hotline or family mediation, should carefully assess how it can manage the many risks that come with it. Organizations that provide counseling services can be sued for negligence if an individual is harmed by the advice they receive. Counselors are often in a position of trust and need to safeguard their clients’ personal information. The counseling sessions themselves need to be organized in such a way that minimizes the risk of sexual abuse, physical confrontations, and other safety concerns that could lead to liability for the organization.

  • Know the marketplace.

Because opioid problems have received so much attention there may already be nonprofits working on issues that your group hopes to address. In some cases it can be more effective to contribute to an existing organization than to create a new one. Every organization has some amount of overhead, and it may simply be a better allocation of resources to combine efforts under a single banner.

The Church Law Center of California can help.

The Church Law Center of California advises religious and secular nonprofits on matters affecting their organization and operation. We can help any nonprofit get started on the right footing and conduct its operations in a way that best serves its constituents while managing organizational risk. Call us today at (949) 689-0437 or reach out to us through our contact page.

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