The topic of our columns this month is the difficult-to-discuss but increasingly pervasive problem of addiction.
Headlines and the CDC reported 2020 was the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses. Half of all families in the U.S. are now affected by addiction, according to Gallup.
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences,” the American Society of Addiction Medicine states. “People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. “
You wouldn’t assume that a CPA would become experienced with addiction issues as part of their vocation. However, I have witnessed the ravaging effects of addiction on my clients’ families over the past 30 years.
I have seen heirs “blow through” millions of dollars in inheritances, lay off long-term employees and lose businesses in search of cash for their habits. Addicted children spent hard-earned wealth built over generations within a few years, sometimes with the assistance of abusive partners and sycophants.
I have seen parents gamble away their home equity and college funds set aside for their children. One wealthy, elderly client with a history of DUIs, killed a toddler and permanently disabled the child’s mother. I have witnessed spouses spend retirement savings that resulted in massive tax bills because of drug use and shopping addictions. Professionals I worked with, some with young families, died prematurely from …….