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Letter: Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Women’s Health

Building our community is a vital part of healing, growing our skills and abilities, and thriving in life.

The Longmont Leader received a letter to the editor from Antoinette DaSilva-Fausto, MA, LPC about women's mental health.

May is National Women’s Health Month. Women face a unique set of medical challenges further complicated by a medical field historically focused on the symptoms, side effects, needs, and outcomes of male patients. As a woman growing up in a period when discrepancies are being identified and inadequacies defined, I have found myself asking “how on earth do women continue to thrive in this world? What leads us to overcome?” The most consistent underlying factor is community.

Women come together in times of need, often before “I need help” has even been uttered aloud. Women have spent centuries caring for others, handling the needs of families, communities, organizations, and everyone except ourselves. This is not to say, all women are selfless creatures, because we are also human. Rather it is to highlight the pattern of women carrying on until someone leans in to whisper “I see you, and it’s time to take care of you now.”

National Women’s Health Month is meant to be the spark that whispers to us all to take the time to evaluate our health and our needs, and grab ahold of opportunities and resources that can support positive changes. 

When viewing the physical and mental health needs of women through the lens of substance use disorder, the importance of community cannot be stressed enough. Addiction isolates, shames, and lies. Colorado has been working to remove the stigma that prevents people from seeking treatment for substance use disorder through programs like Lift The Label (, CO-SLAW (Colorado Opioid Synergy – Larimer and Weld counties) (, and SUAG (Substance Use Advisory Group for Boulder County) (

Each of these programs balances education, access to care, and sharing real stories of the people of Colorado. The stories of repair, growth, and healing emphasize the power in community and treatment, and highlight the experiences of loss when working in isolation. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado has recorded almost 2,000 deaths each year due to drug overdose since 2020, which was a 37.5% increase in recorded overdose deaths from 2019 (Provisional Drug Overdose Counts). 

Building our community is a vital part of healing, growing our skills and abilities, and thriving in life. It is important to know where to find the people who will be in your corner. You can find substance use and mental health providers in Colorado using OwnPath ( Services found with these providers may include Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), individual or group counseling, Intensive Outpatient (IOP), and inpatient care. Because addiction does not just impact the person with the diagnosis, but also affects their family, friends, employers, places of worship, neighborhoods, and more. It can be helpful for support systems to also invest in education and assistance.

CRAFT ( groups are an evidence-based program that teaches community members skills and strategies to support our loved ones who are suffering with a substance use disorder. Health, wellness, and recovery are possible. It is never too late to seek care for yourself or offer support and resources to someone you care about. One can find local peer-based support groups at Better Addiction Care ( Women’s Health Month is an ideal time to prioritize your health and to continue elevating the women you care about.