President Trump Declaring Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

President Trump Declaring Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

Back in August, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis began urging President Trump to declare a national public health emergency to combat the opioid crisis that has crippled countless communities around America. While the President did soon enough say that he believed the opioid epidemic was indeed a national emergency, the actual official process has yet to begin. However, just this week news broke that President Trump will soon formally declare the “national emergency” status of the opioid crisis.

Reports indicate President Trump plans to make the official declaration next week. It seems appropriate following the explosive exposé following the story on ’60 Minutes’ of former DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi pointing a finger at Big Pharma companies, Congress, and lobbyists for fueling the opioid epidemic.

In fact, Republican Representative Tom Marino, who was the top pick for the Trump administrations Drug Czar, was name-dropped in a less than flattering light in the ’60 Minutes’ piece. Reports today now show Marino has withdrawn from consideration following the story.

So what does this newest revelation mean for combatting the opioid crisis?

Raising Awareness

One of the initial reasons for declaring a national emergency is pretty straight-forward; raising awareness. Not that we don’t see enough shocking news stories or warnings from local officials being issued in various states, but more attention on the issue will help channel more resources into actually helping address it.

As the commission states in their report:

“It would also awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will,”

“You, Mr. President, are the only person who can bring this type of intensity to the emergency, and we believe you have the will to do so and to do so immediately.”

When the President of the United States says something is a priority, people take notice. Regardless of whether people always agree on politics, when we can all get behind a major issue and put effort into a more inclusive conversation, there is a better chance more can be done.

Overcoming Addiction Stigma

One of the most important aspects of fighting addiction is overcoming the addiction stigma itself. Many people who are suffering do not get the help they need because they are afraid of the stereotypes associated with drug abuse. A lot of people still doubt what the majority of the medical and scientific communities have adopted as fact; that addiction is a health issue, not a moral failing.

By declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency, President Trump has an opportunity to promote education along with public awareness. The more we can help people to understand how addiction affects the mind and body, the better odds we have of supporting those struggling with compassionate and effective treatment options.

Funding for Fighting Opioids

Perhaps one of the biggest hopes for many addiction recovery advocates is that by President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency he will influence lawmakers to allocate more funding to resources combatting addiction.

A federal declaration would also allow the government to pull funding from other areas as well, such as funding used for the Public Health Emergency Fund, or even the federal Disaster Relief Fund. So while America has been struck pretty hard by hurricanes and natural disasters, some of this same funding may end up going toward creating addiction resources.

One thing many are hoping is that these new funds will also go to promoting more addiction treatment options across the country. Some states may pursue incentives for performance-based enhanced care management (ECM) program, like one recently implemented in New Jersey. Others may put those resources into prevention and education initiatives.

One thing should seem pretty clear; treatment options should be a priority. We already know we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. The War on Drugs did not work, and many do not expect it will now either. With President Trump declaring the national emergency, hopefully, the new effort will go into protecting mental health and substance abuse parity with healthcare and insurance providers. If we have more ways to help those already desperately in need, we could see a better chance for a way out.

With the CDC stating an estimated 91 Americans dying every single day from opioid-related death, which many experts believe is grossly underreported, helping more people fighting opioid addiction find a way out is crucial. However, we should not wait on politicians, health officials or anyone else to fix it. Recovery takes action. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

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5 Big Ways America Can Overcome the Opioid Epidemic

5 Big Ways America Can Overcome the Opioid Epidemic

Drug overdoses killed 64,000 Americans last year. That is an increase of more than 20% than the overdose deaths in 2015. Those numbers have nearly quadrupled since 2000. Now nearly two-thirds of overdose deaths are from by opioids. Some are from prescription opioids; others are from illicit heroin or synthetics like fentanyl.

However, some are concerned that the action we have seen thus far is too little too late. The president’s 2018 budget only increases addiction treatment funding by less than 2%. That already includes the $500 million appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act. So needless to say, many recovery advocates worry that the resources are just not going to be enough.

If we look at the recommendations of the president’s opioid commission, and at other initiatives that have started to gain some traction across the country, we can find patterns. There are some concepts that consistently show up, and perhaps if we focus on these similarities, we can see why so many minds are thinking alike.

So here are 5 big ways America can overcome the opioid epidemic.

  1. Break the Stigma

In order to accomplish most of the things on this list, America first has to consistently fight to break the stigma of drug use and addiction. Misunderstanding what addiction is and how it happens only undermines progress to addressing it. If America hopes to overcome the opioid crisis, we have to be more willing to see it for what it is.

Right now the issue of addiction stigma is still a big deal. While we may have come a long way from how it was decades ago, there are still a lot of people who refuse to consider addiction as an illness. A lot of people still refuse to acknowledge the various factors that contribute to addiction, such as genetic predisposition and instead insist addiction is purely by choice.

If we can see how drug use affects people from all different walks of life, and for countless different reasons, we can then treat those suffering from more compassion. Finding more effective methods of treatment means having a better idea of what really causes addiction, and what feeds it.

  1. Support PAARI, NOT Punishment

Speaking of compassion, supporting PAARI and not punishment is a perfect example of letting go of stigma to work toward saving lives.

It is about time that all of America realizes that the old ways of the failed War on Drugs do not work. Thankfully, it seems a lot more people across the country now understand that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. Harsher punishments and severe sentences have not deterred addiction, they only support stigma.

Now in America, there are nearly 300 law enforcement agencies across 31 states that have Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative programs (PAARI). These PAARI programs offer treatment for drug users who come to authorities looking for a way out. Instead of fearing the threat of arrest, people struggling with substances are encouraged to reach out to law enforcement in order to be put in contact with treatment options or recovery networks.

This revolutionary new mindset was inspired by a department in Gloucester, Massachusetts not too long ago. So far these efforts appear to cost much less and with better results than efforts focused on punishing addicts.

  1. Create Resources for Treatment

Today addiction medicine is an urgently needed specialty, but there is not much glory in it compared to other areas of medical work. One way the federal government could help create more resources for treatment is to provide tuition incentives for medical students to enter addiction-related specialties and work in underserved communities. By encouraging this kind of work, we further shed the stigma of addiction and shift the perspective to helping care for a vulnerable community.

But don’t just end with specialists.

By supporting things like Medicaid expansion, addiction and mental health treatment can be made available to more people who may not have access to healthcare under limited coverage. More state and federal funding can also be allocated by officials to help build or strengthen addiction treatment programs provided by the state.

  1. Enforce Mental Health Parity

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 actually requires insurers provide equal benefits for mental health and addiction treatment that they do with other medical therapies or surgery. Thus, the law means to make discrimination against addicts by insurers illegal.

However, some insurers defy this law by imposing illogical treatment limits or tedious authorization requirements. In other words, insurance companies are finding ways to cheat the system in order to avoid paying for addiction and mental health treatment.

America and our government must to better to enforce mental health parity. If we want people to get the treatment they need, we have to protect their right to treatment and assure that insurance providers won’t be able to skip out on the bill.

According to John Renner, president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, between 50%- 70% of people with substance abuse problems also suffer from a mental health disorder such as:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

With mental health and addiction so closely related, making sure those struggling with opioids and other substances receive care for mental health disorders or other co-occurring conditions it vital to lasting recovery.

  1. Preserve life

First and foremost; preserve life! This should always be a priority when facing any kind of epidemic. Regardless of the circumstances, the preservation of life should always be paramount. This is a discussion that has become crucial in the fight against opioids considering the need for life-saving medications and harm reduction tactics.

At the moment, first responders and emergency rooms do not have adequate access to Naloxone or Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to save lives. Both federal and state health agencies can negotiate pricing for naloxone and expand access. They can also encourage pharmacies that offer prescription-free access in some areas.

Another aspect of saving lives involves harm reduction strategies, which tend to be a little more controversial. Not everyone likes to support programs like safe injection sites or needle exchange programs. However, whether you think these programs enable addiction or not, these programs are proven to help preserve life. Between preventing the spread of infectious disease and providing a supported environment in case of overdose, these harm reduction models can prevent a lot of needless loss of life.

One indisputable precedence in the effort to overcome opioids is keeping people suffering alive long enough to get them treatment. The more people we can help survive opioid addiction, the more people have a chance of recovering.

Drug abuse and addiction is a devastating and deadly disease, and providing effective and compassionate treatment makes a lifelong difference. Part of solving the problem is changing the way we look at it and changing how we treat each other. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Why Opioid Use Is Rising Among Middle-Aged and Elderly Population

Why Opioid Use Is Rising Among Middle Aged and Elderly Population

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

The elderly population frequently is ignored when it comes to drug addiction. After all, when most people think of the word “drug addict,” they typically picture someone in their 20s and 30s. The media depicts addiction as mostly affecting youth. While it is true that the youth population is heavily affected, the middle-aged and elderly drug addiction rates are also rapidly rising.

Millions of older Americans receive painkiller prescriptions for chronic conditions such as back pain, arthritis, and headaches. Eventually, some of these older adults become addicted. Pain prescriptions are a serious problem, and it is important the elderly population receive the same attention as the younger population. Addiction does not discriminate. Everyone needs treatment.

Prescription pain medications can do just as much harm as heroin peddled on the streets. Even worse, when a patient is not able to gain access to their pain prescriptions, they often turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. The heroin on the street is more dangerous because there is no way to know what is being distributed. Often, heroin on the street is laced with powerful opioids like fentanyl which increase a person’s vulnerability to an overdose.

The Middle-Aged and Elderly

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported a sharp increase in hospitalization from prescription drug abuse among Americans aged 45 to 85 and beyond. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest death rates from drug overdoses were reported among middle-aged adults between 45 and 54.

One study revealed that 20 percent of people over the age of 65 take painkillers several times per week. The rate of addiction among chronic pain patients is at an astonishing level of 18 percent. Dr. Andrew Kolodny is the chief medical officer of the Phoenix House Foundation. He explained in a recent article that the highest rates of overdose deaths are in patients who have legitimate prescriptions for managing their chronic pain problems.

Older patients are more able to find opioids because doctors are more willing to prescribe them. Dr. Kolodny points out that improperly using opioids increases the risk of dependence. Shockingly, if someone were to take several doses a day, physical dependence could occur in as little as five days.

Opioid Addiction from Painkillers

Older Patients taking pain medication are less likely to notice the onset of addiction. It’s typically the family or caregivers that begin to notice the changes in behavior.  Often, these older patients are unaware that they are becoming dependent on opioids until a negative consequence occurs.

Furthermore, seniors on opioids are at a higher risk of falling, which increases the risk of devastating fractures.Because many seniors take several medications at a time, there is a potential for harmful drug interactions. For example, an opioid could interact with another drug like a sleeping medication and increase the risk of respiratory depression and sedation.

It is important that seniors have an understanding of this risk. If a patient has a history of alcohol use, it is critical that healthcare providers are aware. The enhanced effects of opioids combined with alcohol results in negative consequences. Nonetheless, one does not need to be a drinker to have a problem with opioids.

A Way Forward

The reality is that close to 50 percent of people age 65 and older deal with chronic pain. While it is important for doctors to address the pain of their patients, it is also just as important to inform patients of the risk of addiction when taking prescriptions opioids.

A journal review found that short-term prescriptions have less of a risk for dependence compared to long-term opioid treatment. While the risk for addiction lowers as a patient becomes older, there is still a risk. Doctors should review each case individually. Addiction is always a possibility with opioids.

There are a variety of alternative pain management treatments making headlines now. Pain management devices are one way that could help reduce opioid dependency. Many chronic pain sufferers also find that combining physical therapy with massage therapy helps reduce pain and improve mobility.

Other pain management options include

The statistics surrounding the middle-aged and elderly population are tragic, but even more tragic is the effect opioid addiction has on friends, relatives, and the overall community. Addiction affects everyone, not just the addict.

Overall, it is important that these age populations know the risk as opioid addiction rates continue to rise. Recovery is possible. Please reach out if you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction. Do not wait. Call today.

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International Overdose Awareness Day 2017

International Overdose Awareness Day 2017

Today, August 31, marks International Overdose Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. This day intends to acknowledge the pain and hardship felt by friends and family who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day is a day that hopes to reduce the shame and guilt that is so often associated with addiction. The day aims to provide an opportunity for people to publicly mourn for loved ones without feeling guilt or shame.

International Overdose Awareness Day Focuses on:

  • Giving communities information about fatal and non-fatal overdoses
  • Sending a strong message to current and former drug users that they are valued
  • Providing essential information regarding resources available in their community
  • Raising a discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy
  • Preventing and reducing harm by supporting evidence-based policies and practices

The Shocking Reality

Drug overdoses are the number one cause of preventable death in America. Today is a day to spread awareness to others about the disease of addiction. Addiction does not discriminate. It affects everyone.

The United States is facing a major drug epidemic.

Facts & Stats:

  • The United States accounts for approximately one-quarter of the estimated number of drug-related deaths worldwide.
  • Overdose deaths continue to rise, and these overdoses are driven by opioid use.
  • Overdose deaths have more than tripled in the United States during the period of 1999-2015, from 16,849 to 52,404 annually.
  • A recent report by STAT states the opioid epidemic is predicted to get a lot worse before it gets any better if it gets better at all.
  • The third quarter of 2016, saw all drug overdose deaths peak at 19.9 cases for every 100,000 people, compared to the 16.7 in the same period last year.
  • Another report found that the number of drug overdoses involving opioids between 2008-2014 was likely underestimated by 24%.
  • Substances like fentanyl are close to 50 times stronger than heroin, and the increased presence of these opioid have significantly increased the number of opioid overdoses.

So what is an overdose exactly?

An overdose means taking too much of a drug or a combination of drugs for a body to tolerate.  Overdose symptoms vary depending on the drug abused. Opioids, benzos, and alcohol all cause overdoses. These drugs slow down the nervous system which includes breathing and heart rate. Too much of these substances can kill or cause permanent brain damage to the user.

Signs of a drug overdose on opioids include:

  • Shallow breathing or not breathing at all
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds (this can mean that a person’s airway is partly blocked)
  • Blue lips or fingertips
  • Floppy arms and legs
  • No response to stimulus
  • Disorientation
  • Unconsciousness.

If you think someone has overdosed, please seek help immediately. Not all overdoses happen quickly, and it can take hours for someone to die from an overdose depending on the severity. Naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, is an overdose antidote that reverses an overdose from opioids.

Fight to Increase Access to Narcan

Narcan is now in the hands of first responders.  It can be found in schools and even over-the-counter depending on the area you reside. Please look into where you can purchase and receive training.

If you know someone who has overdosed, show your support on International Overdose Awareness Day. Now, more than ever is the time to share the truth about addiction. We need to end the stigma.

How to Get Involved

There are a variety of resources available on the International Overdose Awareness Day website. The website has an area where loved ones can write and grieve anyone they have lost. These tributes are where many share the impact drug use, and overdoses have had on their family and friends. There is also an overdose awareness app that shares information on what an overdose is, and the main overdose symptoms. Please see the website for more information and to look for events in your local area.

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How are you going to raise awareness of International Overdose Awareness Day? The impact of addiction continues to influence the lives around us. Let’s end the stigma. If you are struggling with substance abuse, do not wait for it to progress into an overdose. We can help you get back on track. Please call toll free today. Do not wait. 

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

7 Ways for Employers to Address Addiction in the Workplace

7 Ways for Employers to Address Addiction in the Workplace

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

It used to be that when people thought of someone struggling with addiction or alcoholism, they pictured a hobo with patchy clothes drunk under a bridge or blacked out in an alley somewhere. Now, after years of watching our stigmas be proven wrong over and over again, we thankfully have a more realistic image.

These days it is not all the uncommon to imagine that people struggling with substance use disorders do actually have jobs. In fact, most people who struggle with addiction are middle-age, middle-class Americans who have careers or trades. What is called the ‘functioning addict’ often flies under the radar, paying the bills and taking care of their responsibilities, although maybe not as well as they imagine.

So with such a high percentage of the working population struggling with substance use disorder, how should employers be addressing addiction in the workplace? Here are 7 suggestions for the employer who might have to deal with addiction in the workplace.

1. Have a policy and enforce it

The first way for employers to address addiction in the workplace should be a given; have a policy in place for drugs and alcohol.

By establishing the workplace policies and expectations related to drugs and alcohol, having them in writing and explaining them clearly to your staff. You have already set a boundary. As an employer it is up to you to let your staff know what your expectations are and what you will and won’t tolerate.

Then, once the policy is in place, follow through with it. You are able to address substance use as a whole by implementing policies on drugs and alcohol and then committing to those guidelines.

2. Avoid enabling

By establishing a drug and alcohol policy an employer is already setting up the groundwork to help them avoid enabling. Those policies will hold not just your employees accountable, but also they will hold you accountable.

Employers, managers and supervisors should avoid enabling addiction in the workplace with actions like:

  • Lending money to an addicted employee
  • Covering up for the employee
  • Giving the employee’s work to others
  • Trying to counsel the employee without a professional

Families and loved ones are always warned about the risks of enabling someone struggling with addiction, the same goes for their bosses. If you have an employee who is struggling do not make excuses for them. It doesn’t serve the company, and it definitely doesn’t serve their best interests either.

3. Schedule a meeting

When an employer is concerned about an employee who may be struggling with drugs or alcohol try not to address it over a phone call or an email. Take a more hands-on approach, it is just good leadership. Schedule a face-to-face meeting.

Supervisors should review signs of abuse with an Employee Assistance Program (EPA) counselor before meeting with the employee.

An employer or supervisor should notify the individual of a place and time to have a meeting for discussing the employee’s performance. The supervisor should plan to hold the meeting in a private setting, so not to spread someone’s personal business around the workplace.

4. Keep it professional

It is very important that when addressing the individual you do your best to be professional without making the conversation too personal. Instead, the employer or supervisor should keep the focus of the meeting on the employee’s job performance. Make it clear that if they do not correct their performance issues they may face discipline or termination.

Even if you have a good relationship, setting boundaries is important when dealing with a work-related issue concerning drugs or alcohol. It is best to not directly address the substance abuse in question, unless they have been obviously impaired on the clock.

Then suggest the employee to the EAP. While an employee cannot be forced to use EAP services, you can strongly encourage them to take those steps.

5. Expect Resistance

Denial is a common reaction for someone confronted with their substance abuse. Remember their resistance isn’t just about their addiction in the workplace; they may still be dealing with that denial within themselves. Accepting that drugs or alcohol are a serious problem is not an easy admission to make for most people.

If the employee is denying their addiction in the workplace and refusing to seek or accept help from EAP, be ready for it. Whoever supervises this employee should continue to document any and all issues with that individual. If necessary, be prepared to follow through with disciplinary action. Stay consistent. It may help them realize how their substance use is impacting their work before it is too late.

6. Intervention

If an employee has been intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at work an employer may consider holding an intervention with colleagues, coworkers or other people close to the individual. While this may not always be appropriate, it is still an option.

Most of us are familiar with the concept. With an intervention all people involved confront the addicted employee about their drug or alcohol use, but not to punish or scrutinize. Remember the purpose of an intervention is to encourage them to seek professional help.

If choosing to stage an intervention, remember there are trained professionals who should lead a work-based intervention. An employer or supervisor should not lead the intervention.

For more information on how to stage a work-based intervention contact an EAP counselor.

7. Offer support

Now just because we have suggested being a professional doesn’t mean we are suggesting not being compassionate. You may have a close relationship with a lot of your staff. As a supervisor you may have cultivated a teamwork culture that is result driven and supportive, so support your team members.

One of the best things an employer can do to help employees with substance abuse problems is to offer comprehensive health plans that cover all stages of treatment for substance use disorders. Some of the best healthcare plans for your employees will cover:

  • Educating employees on the dangers of abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Addiction treatment
  • Counseling
  • Aftercare

If you want the people on your team to get help when they need it, also be willing to show your support when they reach out for it.

Conclusion

Of course if the employee is displaying erratic or disruptive behavior, or intoxicated in the workplace, than an employer will want to contact EAP services to alert them of the situation. After this, depending on the context you may send an employee home or place them on leave or suspension. Whatever you do, document every incident and subsequent action. Some may require drug testing. Make sure to adhere to your own policies.

At the end of the day, the employer should be motivated by the chance to help an employee struggling with addiction in the workplace to get the help they need to get better. If you want your team to be as healthy and productive as possible than you should be willing to support them in any way you can. Be sure to stay accountable and committed to your staff. They make it all possible.

Addiction does not care about your job title. Plenty of professionals experience serious substance use disorder, everyone from an intern to a CEO. Palm Healthcare offers assistance to employers and their employees when it comes to initiating the treatment process. Our addiction specialists and case managers are just one part of a compassionated staff thoroughly trained to navigate the process so that professionals seeking help can do so effectively. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Jimmy Harding: The Journey From Construction Mogul to Marketing Guru

 

When Jimmy Harding was just ten years old, he started mowing lawns around his neighborhood for extra cash. During these early years, he acquired an entrepreneurial spirit that has carried with him ever since.  Harding would spend the rest of his life developing his businesses and despite the ups and downs, achieve the personal freedom he always desired.

On an episode of The Real Deal On…, Harding sat down with Dug McGuirk for a conversation about reinvention. He discusses his business troubles and the pivotal moments that made reinvention possible in both his personal and professional life.

Harding started his career in construction, eventually becoming a construction mogul and dominating the industry. However, through a series of twists and turns, he fell into marketing. He is now a sought-after marketing guru who helps other businesses reach their full potential.

When it comes to reinvention, Harding has been through quite a few:

“I don’t believe there’s one reinvention per se.  I think we go through a series of them,” he says.

Harding started his career in construction and grew his construction firm from the ground up.

“It started off as basically me and a helper and a pickup truck, and by the time that business got to its height, we were building like ten to twelve fast-food restaurants per year and then like a luxury home every single month on the residential side, so we really grew that thing up.”

During his time in construction, Harding learned valuable lessons.

Often, people place their failure on a lack of resources; however, Harding always knew the importance of being resourceful.  Therefore, when he wanted to learn how to build a particular type of cabinet, instead of hiring someone to build it, Harding began working at a cabinet shop to find out how to build it himself.

“There was a particular type of cabinet that I didn’t know how to build and I went and got a job at a cabinet shop while I owned my own business just to learn how to build that so I can see the process, come back and use it in the project we were about to start,” he explains.

“There’s always a way. It’s just how do we figure it out. You can either pay someone to show you or you can pay someone to teach you to do it,” he continues.

Gaining Personal Freedom:

Ultimately, Harding’s goal was always to achieve personal freedom.  Entrepreneurship was a vehicle to achieve that goal, he says.  Over the years, he developed a passion for helping others achieve that freedom on their own. From the beginning, he always had a passion for helping others.

“I would go get my friends that would have you know $100,000 in debt from going to college, and they couldn’t even get a job. I’m like, ‘No, this is how you create your own economy,’ so I always would give people a hand up, people younger than me…,” he says

“That saying that it takes money to make money is B.S.,” he explains. “I’ve never had startup funding or whatever. Whatever I was going to do, I would go out and help other people, get paid for it, and use that [money] as the capital to start up my business.”

The Impact of Hurricane Katrina

Despite a struggling economy and weakening housing market, Harding’s construction firm continued to boom throughout the early 2000s. Then, Hurricane Katrina happened.

“All of a sudden, Hurricane Katrina comes along, and we’ve got 13 properties under construction, all in my name that I own,” he says. “We ended up having anywhere from like two to 13 feet of water in nine of the 13 properties, and it was pretty devastating. We had to recover from that and then there was a big need in the community.”

Despite the hurdles, Harding’s construction company thrived as they were able to help families rebuild their homes and contribute to the community in various ways.

“It was really a great time for us and contributing to the community, and we were rewarded handsomely for it because we helped like 87 people get back in their home,” he explains.

It was a hectic time. Families lived in FEMA trailers on the front lawn while their houses were being built, Harding says. The goal was to build these homes as soon as possible. Therefore, Harding’s company was able to grow and employ a lot of new people.

The business continued to boom for about 18 months; then suddenly things started to shift.

“It wasn’t that there was no need for any construction services but what happened is the stuff that we did or the stuff that we were capable of doing, was not available anymore,” he says.

Essentially, the only work left in New Orleans after 18 months was down to the most damaged stuff.

“If you were not a contractor that was set up to do 100 million dollar jobs like big infrastructure and improvement type of stuff, then it came down to very little left to be done,” he says.

Instead of changing his business model, Harding kept thinking things would get better. However, business started to dry up.  He had to figure out what to do next. He remembered how heavily competing companies were advertising, so he decided to dive into marketing in an attempt to save his business.

This was the start of a costly journey to understand how marketing and advertising worked.

The last $100,000:

Harding’s quest to figure out why his business was declining led him into the marketing industry.  He used the last $100,000 of his business finances to invest in advertising. He hired an advertising company to market his construction company to NFL games.

As a Saint Season holder, Harding thought the affluent market at these games would be a great place to gain new clients for his construction firm. He became the official construction sponsor for all the games.  Unfortunately, the results were far from promising.

“The only phone call I got was someone else trying to sell me advertising,” he laughs.
“The first thing that I learned from that is that just because someone sells advertising doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing,” he says.

The experience taught Harding a lot about advertising. He realized the way he was marketing the wrong way.

“In advertising, you need two things: you have to be able to make an emotional connection, and it has to be intellectually interesting,” he explains.

Despite the lessons learned, his construction firm shut down.

“Eventually I ran out of money, and I had to shut it down and give the properties back and start struggling for survival,” he says. “It seemed like everything I touched just fell apart during that time, so that was a long struggle period like from 2008 until 2010.”

After his business went under, Harding decided to go on the road doing disaster cleanup. He had become an “expert on disaster cleanup,”  and knew he had the tools to do the job. It seemed like the right direction to go.

“I said okay, I’m going to start going on the road and to these disasters and start doing our disaster cleanup and so I learned a lot of stuff at that time,” he says.

At first, Harding would knock on the doors of residents who had gone through a disaster and offer his services. He learned quickly that this was not the most efficient strategy. Soon, Harding began educating people on how to respond and react to disasters. He created educational brochures to hand out to people and acquired clients through becoming an expert in the field.

“When they would call me, I would go to their house, and I would expand on that education, and so really I was just consulting with them.  I was helping them, and like people were literally just pulling out their checkbooks,” he says.

This was a pivotal point in Harding’s career as he learned the importance of educational marketing. To this day, Harding continues to give away tons of information and advice to help people in their own pursuits.

Harding’s disaster cleanup business started to flourish, and he eventually partnered with a friend in the oil industry. Together, they developed a company.  During this time, he continued to learn more about marketing. Eventually, his efforts led him to the boardroom of a major oil company.

“That same marketing that was getting people to invite me into their home to educate them invited this big oil company to call us,” he says.

The BP Oil Spill Fiasco

The morning of the big meeting, Harding and his business partner were prepared to sign a seven-figure contract with the major oil company.

“All I had to do was go there, do my presentation, and basically sign contracts,” he says.

However, a major event got in the way: the BP oil spill.

“The morning that we show up in Houston, my partner and I walk into this big giant boardroom, and there’s a flat-screen TV on the wall, and there’s an oil rig on fire,” Harding remembers.

“That night, in the middle of the night before we got there, was the big BP oil spill of 2010,” he says.

“We get there, and all non-essential services are canceled indefinitely. Boom. So I’m going there to get money. We needed this money, and all of a sudden, boom and I was in shock,” he continues.

Despite his shock, Harding remembered something he learned from Tony Robin’s Date with Destiny seminar a few months earlier.  During the seminar, he learned “state management,” and knew not to keep repeating the same victim story. Instead of dwelling on the failure and asking why; he asked himself how he could use the experience to help others. That was the moment he decided to open up his own marketing company.

“It was the catalyst to opening a marketing company, and like mastering marketing and changing and moving into the way that I coach and consult now.  it was all based off of that thing,” he explains.

Advice to others in reinvention:

Harding went through various reinventions but ultimately learned to gain from his experience rather than create the same story in his head. His marketing company was a result of the ups and downs of his past businesses. Through his experience, he is now able to help others succeed.

“When something traumatic happens, you have to look at the good side, because you know there’s an opposite reaction to everything that happens,” he says.

Harding shares his advice for those wanting to pursue their goals:

“Figure out exactly what you want and then go after it. One of the big mistakes that I made along the way is I knew what I did not want, so I never got specific.  I got specific on what I did not want and what I found out is that’s not good enough. […] Figure out what you want and focus on that. Don’t be scared to fail. It’s not a failure unless you quit,” he says.


We highly encourage you to listen to the entire interview to hear more exciting stories from Jimmy Harding. Harding has had every obstacle thrown at him over the course of his career, but despite all of it, he managed to turn it all around.

Reinvention is about going in a positive direction when obstacles are thrown at you. In recovery, reinvention is crucial.  You need to stop telling yourself the same old stories of failure. Instead, focus on heading in a positive direction in your life. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 

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