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Visions Journal

Editor's Message

Trudy Norman, PhD, Guest Managing Editor

Reprinted from the Families, Friends and Substance Use issue of Visions Journal, 2023, 19 (2), p. 4

Every day a number of stories come across my newsfeed about people who use substances. The stories discuss the need for more and different services and supports, advocate for policy and legal reform, ask for increased law enforcement to make communities ‘safer’, and often contain a great deal of misinformation about people who use drugs and the supports they receive.

Changes are needed at all levels of our health, housing, education and legal systems to reduce stigma and properly address the needs of people who use substances. The voices of those with lived and living experience are crucial in developing, implementing, and sustaining these changes.  

Family members also have lived experience, often a lifetime of watching a parent, child, or someone close to them struggle with their substance use in ways that result in a range of life challenges. Sometimes those who struggle are lost. This may mean distance from the family or in the case of the overdose crisis, death.

This issue explores substance use with a focus on the lived and living experiences of the families and friends of people who use substances. Several people share their stories of anguish and hope around their substance use or that of a loved one including mental health challenges, and the role that family and friends can play in that journey. Though the road can be long and arduous, love, in all its forms, remains at the forefront of contributors’ minds and hearts as they describe their life experiences. The bond of family is strong here, no matter how it is defined and very often, no matter the circumstance. The remaining articles aim to assist readers in considering current and in some cases, controversial topics in substance use service provision along with essential family supports. 

The Looking Ahead section introduces you to our next issue on hidden homelessness, a less understood aspect of not having a place to call home. Some great reading and food for thought is coming your way!

It has been my pleasure to act as Guest Managing Editor for a second issue of Visions. You never know, you just might see my name here again in the not-too-distant future!

About the author

Trudy is a knowledge mobilization specialist with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) at the University of Victoria. CISUR is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information

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