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Is Addiction Sinking Your Family Business?

In September 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to spend an extra $144 million toward fighting the opioid crisis. Ninety-one Americans die each day from opioid abuse.

But as Mitzi Perdue, prominent family business specialist, noted in her commentary on Fox News (October 10, 2017),¹ substance abuse is sinking America’s family businesses. As Perdue pointed out, more than half of family businesses were struggling with an addiction issue within the family.

The implications are profound. Addiction issues create conflict, tension, and stress. But they may also force the sale of a business because there is no surviving heir. Addiction issues can be a primary source of marital conflict, leading to marital breakups.

How can the addiction issue be addressed?

First, recognize the fact of the problem. Talk about it openly.

Second, be clear that substance abuse is not part of what your family does. As Perdue notes, parents have tremendous influence to set direction here.

Third, Perdue also emphasizes that being together as a family is a key factor-the power of presence. By being together, the family experiences love and is less likely to look for love elsewhere.

And finally, Perdue says simply to have fun. A loving family that has fun is hard to beat. By teaching kids they can have fun without substance abuse, children will live what they’ve seen modeled.

These are simple but necessary ideas as we look to the future for our family businesses.

¹Mitzi Perdue, Substance Abuse Is Sinking America’s Family Businesses. Here’s the Secret to Staying Strong. (Fox News, October 10, 2017).

Related articles:
The Single Worst Question to Ask in Family Legacy-Part I
The Single Worst Question to Ask in Family Legacy-Part II
The Single Worst Question to Ask in Family Legacy-Part III

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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