Light Paper: Addiction

by Institute for Family | Feb 19, 2024

Review the impact of addiction on family well-being and uncover evidence-based supports.


This Light Paper delves into the complex landscape of addiction or substance use disorder (SUD), emphasizing the disease’s impact on individuals, families, and communities. It challenges stigmas, highlighting the correlation between trauma, mental health disorders, and substance use disorders. Racial disparities in addiction history are explored, emphasizing the need for equitable solutions. The current state of addiction in the US and North Carolina is outlined, with alarming statistics underscoring the urgency for comprehensive interventions.

Recommendations include prioritizing evidence-based, culturally sensitive practices, addressing mental health services, and expanding programs supporting mothers in recovery. The importance of listening to personal stories is emphasized to foster empathy and understanding, ultimately advocating for a shift towards a preventive mindset in addressing substance use disorders. The paper closes by providing resources for immediate assistance and reinforcing the message that support is available for those struggling with addiction in North Carolina. 

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This Light Paper offers vital actionable items

1. North Carolina should increase evidence-based, data-driven substance use disorder practices and treatments, which includes applying cultural humility in our practices. 

2. When we are treating substance use disorders, we also should increase mental health services and ensure we have the infrastructure to help those through recovery. 

3. Families in North Carolina would benefit from an expansion of programs that promote in-patient care that keeps babies with mothers. 

4. Don’t simply hear these stories. Listen. And when listening, it comes from a place of curiosity rather than judgment. 

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Dive Deeper

Continue the conversation on this Light Lab Light Paper brief and explore these thought starters.

Abbreviated Light Paper

PDF Document

Download the short version of this light paper, which includes a short story and summary of the main points in this Light Paper issue.

Film and Discussion Guide on Addiction

Film Webpage

Watch “Being Gina” and use the discussion guide to develop strategies for supporting families.

Shrounda on Seen Out Loud Podcast

Podcast Webpage

Meet Shrounda Sellivanoff, a passionate mother, kinship caregiver, and parent ally who helps other parents who navigate child welfare and manage addiction.

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