To all the people in training, the future rests in your hands. This fight for a more equitable SUD treatment landscape is one we will have to demand from systems and payers, but the fight is worth it because we do it for those we love.
Angela Colistra, Ph.D., LPC, CAADC, CCS: Growing up in West Virginia and starting my career in Appalachia, I saw the devastation of opioid addiction losing upwards to 20 friends and family members before I would reach my early 20s by the early 2000s. This reality moved me to further my education to help people heal and become trained to do addiction and mental health work. Far too many communities, families, and people continue to struggle with the devastation of addiction: access to evidenced-based care and affordability remains a challenge. To all those people who have lost their battle too early, I fight for a more equitable treatment landscape. To the 100s of people I have met along the way who have recovered, who are still fighting, and who have lost their battle, this work has always been for you and about you.
Andrea Ward, DO: To the people of eastern Kentucky who raised me in my early days of medicine, taught me through their needs, allowed me to listen to their stories, showed me their experiences with the plague of stigma, welcomed me with open arms, invited me to family dinners, and motivated me to become the best doctor I can be, my work in this was done for and with you held close in my heart. Thank you for exemplifying so astutely that the work of helping neighbors in need is what makes life worth living.
Erin Smith, DO: I dedicate this article (Health Disparities, Substance Use Disorders, Primary Care) to my mother, a strong and complex human being who struggled with addiction throughout her life and entered recovery in her early sixties. Thank you, mom, for showing us all that change is possible–for every one of us. Thank you for never giving up on yourself. Thank you for vulnerability, for trying again–and again–and again, and for showing us that while life is complicated, the light and dark come together and weave a quilt of our most precious gift of all: a full life.
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.