December 22, 2022

Financial Planners Help People Manage Life’s Challenges. Sometimes Those include Substance Use Disorder.

Dan Orzano, Outreach and Education Manager, Recovery Within Reach, Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Securities

One byproduct of Ohio’s ongoing opioid crisis is heightened awareness: As more people and organizations learn the magnitude of the problem, more resources become available for dealing with opioid use disorder. Equally important, more people who need help get the information and confidence they need to seek it.

We are, of course, glad to see more Ohioans asking about and accessing treatment. But one barrier to treatment has been more persistent than others: Many Ohioans believe they can’t afford it, only to find that untreated addiction leaves them and their families financially devastated. Others deplete their family’s financial resources more than necessary because they aren’t aware of the help that is available.

In fact, Ohioans living with addiction have options for payment that many aren’t aware of. With this in mind, in August we at the Ohio Department of Commerce, through the Division of Securities, launched Recovery Within Reach: a statewide awareness campaign designed to empower financial advisers, who are regulated through the Division of Securities, to help their clients manage and navigate the costs of opioid addiction and treatment.

A statewide survey conducted earlier this year by the Securities division found that many financial advisers don’t know when their clients are dealing with addiction. Only 1% believe they have clients affected financially by addiction, even though we know that 1 in 13 Ohioans lives with substance use disorder (SUD). While three-quarters of financial advisers said they would consider taking training related to opioid use, only 10% have done so. The survey also showed that opioid misuse by a single family member can cost a client $35,000 per year.

In response, the campaign created a website with resources for financial advisers, community partners and the public, including those to help advisers recognize the signs addiction might be affecting a client. For advisers who suspect a client may be living with substance use disorder, materials help prepare them for difficult conversations around addiction. It may seem an unexpected duty, but the need is critical. Recovery Within Reach is also developing a training program to be rolled out in early 2023.

The campaign also seeks to help families connect with nearby treatment options. On the Recovery Within Reach website, a treatment map allows users to plug in an address and find locations nearby for a variety of services including residential and outpatient treatment, group and family counseling, relapse prevention and more.

We’re thrilled to welcome OAHP as a Recovery Within Reach partner. Health insurance plans by law must cover behavioral health needs, but many people aren’t aware of that fact. Insurers can play an important role in SUD care — not only helping members access treatment, but informing them of potential coverage for expenses beyond direct treatment, such as transportation to medical appointments.

OAHP members plans include both commercial plans offered by private employers and managed-care plans that contract with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to serve the more than 3 million lower-income Ohioans who are Medicaid members.

Recovery Within Reach is especially glad for our partnership with OAHP, which has been a leader for a long time in connecting Ohioans with help for addiction and mental illness. The organization is also a partner to the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance’s “Beat the Stigma” campaign and has created an excellent “Road Map” to treatment for behavioral health conditions. The Road Map offers a simple, step-by-step guide to what can be an intimidating and unfamiliar exercise and is an excellent companion to our Treatment Map.

We’re proud of the difference Recovery Within Reach can make and we’re grateful for partners like OAHP. As finance professionals, we know that addiction is never part of the plan, but recovery truly is within reach.