The Treatment Cycle
While treatment and recovery are possible, it is important to understand that success rates vary greatly. This is especially true for the wealthy, who may have drug and alcohol use ingrained in their culture.

There are a wide variety of treatment options available, including many that claim to cater to the wealthy and prominent.  Where privacy and discretion were once a premium with treatment facilities, there is a disturbing trend among those of wealth and prominence to view treatment as a sign of status or a rite of passage.

For Hollywood celebrities, there is a seemingly unending list of options-from "quick-fixes" or abstinence-optional centers to luxury resorts. Too often, these cater to the high-end lifestyle more than they offer the integrated medical and behavioral support for lasting recovery.  The false assumption is that any inpatient treatment will fix the problem. Little regard is given to the real work involved in supporting lifelong recovery. 

As a result, low recovery rates for treatment are common. This is why it is so important to find the right treatment center and the right expert advice from counselors with clinical backgrounds and experience in successfully helping wealthy families.

The Advisor's Role
Wealth advisors play an increasingly important role in assisting families on issues of family governance, asset transfers, philanthropy training and mission.  An advisor's expert advice is crucial to support healthy family interaction and wealth preservation.

Advisors have a unique opportunity to address addictions head-on by working with families to exert external pressure on the addicted family member and identify the proper support services.

Here are steps that advisors can take to help families address addiction issues:

1. Consult the experts.
Just as with financial planning or investments, the savvy advisor should consult with experts when dealing with a drug-addicted client. Look for treatment professionals who have experience and training in dealing with the unique needs of families of wealth and prominence.  Ask for licensing information and references from other professionals.

2. Involve the family.
The challenge for the advisor is to know when to intervene. Many families have become so consumed by the chaos of addictive behavior that over time they go into complete denial. While some families may seek assistance voluntarily, it is more likely that the addiction problem will trigger a crisis and force a family to act. It's important to note that no matter what course of action you take, family interaction with the addict is vital. Trained addiction specialists can help identify all options available to the family-from intervention strategies to treatment to ongoing support.

3. Get the addict motivated.
The addict needs to be motivated to seek treatment and follow a course to recovery.  External pressure to enter treatment can take on many forms. You can cut off the addict's access to funds, terminate employment, or sever relationships.  Put simply, forcing addicted family members to face personal and professional consequences dramatically increases the likelihood they will enter treatment and follow through with their long-term care plans. An advisor can partner with family leaders and licensed addiction professionals, who will provide clear perspective and assist in the process.