Substance Use: The Importance of Advocacy

Understanding addiction through new, creative lenses can offer a fresh perspective.

POETRY FOR INCLUSION

Promote each other

Bard’s thoughts percolate often

Narratives flourish

I recently was introduced to Courtney Madeira by a mutual friend. Courtney is a kindred spirit and fellow poet who has a passion for storytelling. She recently shared a poignant piece, “Blue-Gray,” that resonated with me. I witness firsthand the daily struggles my patients with substance use disorders face. Addiction is a debilitating illness that has deleterious effects on the health of our nation. Furthermore, it can impact the individual suffering from the illness as well as their interpersonal relationships.

“Blue-Gray” is a palpable narrative that illuminates the importance of continued advocacy and support for a population that is often stigmatized and longing to be understood.

I am thankful for opportunity to share Courtney’s talents with a diverse audience. I embolden us to continue to seek understanding and perspective through the power of stories.

Blue-Gray

Courtney Madeira


Dense and wet like

New cement or humidity

Under the storm


You form and then

Solidify like an addict’s

Bad habits…


Once true, once as the ocen

You muddies your color

With lies and


Cocaine and Katamine

Adderall, Xanax, and

Too much alcohol


I miss the you

You used to be before

You started cutting everything


With cheap excuses

And misplaced intentions to

Do better next time


We’re watching you die

Insisting your fine with

Line after line…


I wish I could beliee you.

Thick smudge on

Tear-stained journal


Blue-gray as your lips

In my nightmares where

Apathies stole you too soon.


Dr Clark is associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville and medical director and division chief for Adult Inpatient and Consult-Liaison Services for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Prisma Health - Upstate. He served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, and he currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion section editor and advisory board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.