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Lindsay

The CHC I'm doing is substance abuse, which is a topic that I am very, very interested in because I have a long history of alcoholism on my mother's side. We have been traveling all over Worcester (and sometimes a little beyond) to visit different people and places to really get a picture of the substance abuse problem in Worcester. So far, we have met with people at the Massachusetts Medical Society, AdCare Hospital (a detox/rehab facility), a very passionate community activist/mortician, a court psychologist, probation officers, Worcester police officers and many more. We have seen a whole range of issues that go hand-in-hand with substance abuse-- mental illness, homelessness and domestic abuse to name a few. This problem is extremely complicated because it is not a free standing issue that can be easily solved. In order to effectively address the issue of substance abuse, the issues of homelessness, mental illness, abuse and unemployment need to be collectively addressed, which is obviously quite an undertaking. Furthermore, I have definitely noticed that the majority of individuals that we have come across in Worcester are often minorities and of lower socioeconomic status. One interesting experience I had was last night riding with the vice squad (Worcester Police Department's drug unit). We actually pulled a prostitute off of the street and just had a conversation with her about her drug addiction. She told us that she actually had a bed waiting for her the day before at a local detox/rehab facility and that she chose to not go because she just didn't want to stop doing drugs yet. I guess it made me realize that, unfortunately, some people just aren't ready for help and that I can try, but my efforts may be fruitless and I need to wait until those individuals are good and ready for help. It definitely opened my eyes a little more to the fact that substance abuse is so much more than a medical issue and that my medical expertise can only help me to help those who want the help (which sounds very awkward). It made me realize that in order to do the things that I want to do, I need to be more than just a health-care practitioner, I need to be an advocate for these people and an understanding, compassionate human being.