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If you are experiencing a life-threatening crisis, call emergency services in your area (9-1-1 in the U.S.) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

The American Counseling Association offers many resources for counselors helping clients working to recover from substance-use disorders and addiction. These include articles in Counseling Today and in The Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, as well as ACA-published Practice Briefs and books. 

ACA Practice Briefs

The ACA Center for Counseling Practice, Policy and Research offers Practice Briefs for ACA members. Practice Briefs, written by scholars in the counseling profession, are research-based summaries of best practices, evidence-based practices, and research-based approaches covering a wide variety of client-presenting issues and counseling topics. Each Practice Brief is several pages in length, includes references, and has been peer-reviewed by two co-editors before being accepted for publication. The Practice Briefs available to members include:

Practice Brief: Opioid-Use Disorder


Information is also available from:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

  • The SAMHSA National Helpline
    The helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Call 800-662-HELP (800-662-4357)
  • The SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
    The free toolkit offers strategies to health-care providers, communities and local governments for developing practices and policies to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths. Available as an online download, the toolkit includes facts about opioid-use disorders, resources for overdose survivors and their family members and safety advice for patients and family members.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
NIDA, a division of the National Institutes of Health, offers resources on opioids and other substances.


Tobacco Cessation and Mental Health

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. Despite overall declines in cigarette smoking, a high prevalence of smoking persists among certain subpopulations, including persons with mental illness. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research suggests that smoking prevalence among U.S. adults with mental illness or serious psychological distress ranges from 34.3% (phobias or fears) to 88% (schizophrenia), compared with 18.3% among adults with no such illness. Persons with mental illness might smoke more frequently and heavily than the general population, and they might lack access to cessation services.

Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population.  About 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by persons with mental health conditions.

Smoking and Mental Health: Five Things Every Health Care Provider Should Know

Providers who care for people with mental health conditions have an important role to play in reducing tobacco use among people with mental health conditions. Here are five things that every provider should know before their next clinical encounter:

  1. Cigarette Smoking is more common among adults with mental conditions than in the general population.
  2. Smokers with mental health conditions get sick, become disabled, and die early from smoking-related diseases.
  3. Many smokers with mental health conditions want to, and are able to quit smoking.
  4. Quitting smoking will not interfere with mental health recovery, and may have mental health benefits
  5. Providing smoking cessation assistance is an important part of mental health treatment.

Providers can do their part by making tobacco cessation part of an overall approach to treatment and wellness: 

  • Ask patients if they smoke cigarettes or use other forms of tobacco; if they do, strongly advise them to quit.
  • Assist patients who are ready to quit by offering proven quitting treatments, including tailored cessation assistance. Provide counseling, support, and stop-smoking medicines.
  • Monitor and adjust mental health medicines as needed in patients trying to quit smoking.



  • A Concise Guide to Opioid Addiction for Counselors
    By Kevin Alderson and Samuel T. Gladding
    This brief, evidence-based guide is ideal for busy mental health professionals helping diverse clients with opioid use disorders. It is replete with information and resources that can be immediately applied to addiction work.
  • Addiction in the Family: What Every Counselor Needs to Know
    By Virginia E. Kelly
    When a family member struggles with addiction, everyone in the family is affected. This helpful resource explores the challenges faced by family members of people with substance use disorders, discusses behaviors that help to promote recovery and create and maintain healthy relationships, and offers family-focused intervention strategies.
  • Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions
    By Robert L. Smith
    This book examines the assessment and diagnosis of the most prevalent substance and process addictions— including alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, the internet, gambling, compulsive buying, and more—along with evidence-based inpatient and outpatient treatment approaches.

Counseling Today Articles

External Resources