It’s the final day of my 12 Days of Charitable Giving for 2018. Readers have suggested deserving charities over the past few weeks, and I’ll be posting one a day for—well, 12 days (I’m clever that way). Today’s charity is The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (“The Center”).
Forty million Americans ages 12 and older, or more than 1 in 7 people, abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs. This is more than the number of Americans with heart conditions (27 million), diabetes (26 million) or cancer (19 million).
Like diabetes or cancer, addiction is a disease. I know that’s a controversial statement, but according to The Center, while the first use (or early stage use) may be by choice, once the brain has been changed by addiction, most experts believe that the person loses control of their behavior. In that way, it’s just like heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer that involve personal choices (like diet, exercise, sun exposure, etc.). The disease is what happens in the body as a result of those choices. And while psychological and environmental factors may determine when an individual starts to use substances, genetic factors appear to have more of an influence in determining who progresses from substance use to addiction.
About 25%-50% of people with a substance use problem develop a severe, chronic disorder. Those folks require intensive treatments and continuing aftercare, monitoring and family or peer support to manage their recovery. However, the good news is that even the most severe, chronic addiction can be manageable and reversible, usually with long term treatment and continued monitoring and support for recovery.
That’s where The Center comes in. It’s a science-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr. The organization’s mission is to find, promote and enact the necessary solutions to end America’s deadly addiction crisis.
The Center focuses on research but they say they are more than a research organization. They are working to ensure that effective prevention and treatment strategies are implemented wherever a need exists. The Center also empowers parents and caregivers with information to improve the odds that young people will avoid or overcome addiction.
So how can you help?
To make a one-time or recurring donation, click over to the organization’s website.
You can also donate by phone: call (212) 841.5228 to make a gift with your credit card.
And you can donate by mail. Print and complete the donate by mail form (downloads as a PDF) and mail to Center on Addiction, 633 Third Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10017-6706.
For federal income tax purposes, if you plan to claim a deduction for a cash contribution, you’ll want to keep a record of the donation regardless of the amount. Ideally, the organization will provide a written record with the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution.
Do your homework.
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ new Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that The Center is on the list.
I often suggest checking out third-party sites like Charity Navigator for more information about charitable organizations, including evaluations and access to tax forms and other financials. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has a four-star ranking from Charity Navigator.
The organization earned the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, an online service that provides information about nonprofit organizations.
Remember: Submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers, and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous, but be smart: Do your homework.
For more on making charitable donations, click here.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are the other organizations on the 12 Days of Charitable Giving list this year: