Author: Author: Lisa Zuba
AFAR Director of Development
Recently I attended a popular business networking event. It was a luncheon in a fancy downtown ballroom attended by executives representing medium to large-sized businesses. During our roundtable introductions, I gave my elevator speech. As the Director of Development for AFAR, it goes something like this:
I help raise funds to focus on our country’s No. 1 public health crisis: addiction. Through our scientific research, AFAR creates lasting solutions to this crisis, educates the public and reduces the stigma of addiction. Right now our primary focus is on sex addiction, internet porn addiction and how the internet, specifically internet porn, is affecting children.
A fellow at the table challenged our focus on sex addiction. “What does that have to do with business?” he asked. “Furthermore, there are so many people suffering and overdosing from heroin and opioid addiction, why don’t you fix that?”
It was a good question and came from a place of concern and caring. But clearly he was uncomfortable about my bringing up sex addiction at the event and was not knowledgeable about the disease. I explained that there are many worthy organizations who are working to stave off the opioid epidemic, help addicts get treatment and create viable opioid prevention models. But, there are few nonprofits that focus on sex addiction.
“And, it most clearly is a business problem. In fact, the majority of internet porn is downloaded during the workday!”
He was shocked. My new friend had no idea how pervasive sex addiction is and how businesses are affected. Even the Society for Human Resource Management is troubled by the unsettling trend.
Besides just spending time on internet porn during workday hours, sex addiction impacts workers through complicated family issues, financial woes and even legal troubles. On top of that, the sex addicts’ feelings of despair and the stigma of sex addiction keep him or her from seeking treatment. An individual with those stressors does not make for a productive employee.
He widened his eyes. He began to understand the enormous impact of sex addiction and how it can be a costly problem for business. He left the luncheon intending to discuss the issue with his business partners.
Addiction is indeed our country’s #1 public health crisis. Through 2019, AFAR will concentrate its efforts on three critical areas of addiction:
AFAR targeted these addictions because of their explosive growth and destructive potential. In fact, these addictions are growing exponentially among young people. Addiction rates are growing in our children faster than any other age group due to the access, anonymity and affordability of the internet.
And yet another reason for business to pay attention.