Changing the mindset of drug and substance use treatment

In my 40 years working in the social work field, I have been an inpatient therapist in a state-run psychiatric facility, directed behavioral health for a GP residency program in Saginaw, led a child sexual abuse program , worked with women sex workers and created a program to help people living with HIV-AIDS that eventually grew into the Lansing Area AIDS Network. Today I run my own private practice.

As I reflect on the populations I have served – from GP practices to sexual abuse to HIV-AIDS – there is a common thread: substance use disorder.

I am not suggesting that everyone in those categories uses substances, but I have experienced the disproportionate and devastating impact of substance use within disenfranchised populations – especially lower socioeconomic groups – due to lack of access to care, bias, hatred and biochemical predisposition.

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