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Carbondalian aims to compassionately address opioid addiction

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Margaret Fay Seldeen — who also goes by Maggie, Mugsy or Mugsy Fay — is taking a step back from music and the Creative District in Carbondale to pursue her passion: fighting opioid addiction here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Seldeen sees every individual’s story as unique and worth listening to for what it is; an attribute she’s had since youth. In the sixth grade, she was in a school play as Lady Macbeth and was explicitly instructed not to say her line “Out damned spot!” — but when the time came she did anyway. While her teacher likely considered it rebellious, it was not a causeless act for even then Seldeen respected the integrity of  her character’s story. 

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Today, she continues honoring peoples’ stories and helps shed an empathetic light on those living in the shadows of society. Seldeen recently graduated from Colorado Mesa University where she studied psychology and sociology. Consecutively, she started a job with Mind Springs Health (MSH) as a Peer Recovery Coach. 

“I’m really passionate about working with communities in the Roaring Fork Valley that have been negatively affected by the opioid or overdose crisis — when I say overdose crisis that is to acknowledge that methamphetamine is also a big part of that,” she explains. 

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Seldeen lost her mother to a heroin overdose in 2006 here in the Valley.

In order to overcome the opioid crisis Seldeen believes that the stigma against drug users, especially those seeking substance abuse or mental health treatment, needs to change. “I believe that a lot of what we call mental health is just differences between people; some people need medication and some counseling — everyone has different needs to get by,” she says. 

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Seldeen sees heavy drug abuse as a proxy to larger mental health issues and considers that many consequences of mental illness are “Associated with how we as a society view, treat and provide for these people.”   

A large part of the issue according to Seldeen is systematic. She says that the, “Power imbalance in  our system creates a lot of barriers for people who are in need of services to build trusting relationships with their service providers.” She considers a trusting relationship to be essential to best support someone struggling with addiction. 

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For that reason, Seldeen appreciates when rehabilitation clinics are run by people in recovery themselves. This way someone who is beginning their journey toward recovery can confide in another who, from personal experience, knows where they’re coming from. 

In her new role with MSH, Seldeen will be tasked with connecting people in the Valley battling their addiction with the resources they need. To Seldeen this means finding what works for each individual because, again, everyone has their own story and their own needs.

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Seldeen will also be providing folks with information and resources regarding a counteractive drug known as Suboxone. Suboxone is a combination of a partial opiate agonist,  buprenorphine, and an opiate antagonist, naloxone. Soboxone has been used rather than methadone in many cases  and unlike methadone can be prescribed by a doctor for a patient to self-administer; whereas methadone treatment is typically done in a controlled clinical environment. Suboxone is meant to be utilized in conjunction with other modes of treatment such as counseling. 

Anyone who would like more information regarding opioid treatment locally can email mseldeen@mindspringshealth.org to reach her. 

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Truth be told, Seldeen has worn a lot of hats in her hometown — Carbondale, or rather the wider Roaring Fork Valley (RFV) community; as she is proud to say “I’ve lived, worked and learned in every city in the RFV.”

Before starting with MSH Seldeen worked for Carbondale Arts as a freelance art teacher.  She continued her work there through the shutdown by teaching and connecting virtually. Seldeen also hosts a radio show on KDNK called “The Witching Hour” every other Monday from 9 to 11 p.m., so tune in to 88.1 FM on June 15 to hear her next show. 

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“I definitely plan to continue my volunteer work with organizations like Carbondale Arts and KDNK,” says Seldeen. Luckily we won’t lose her while she pursues her passion.

Seldeen, or Mugsy Fay — her stage name — rather, is also known for her music which she writes and performs as a solo artist. Many of her songs are written from figurative individuals’ perspectives and symbolize,“the underlying values of prison reform and reducing mental health stigma through the way their stories are told.”

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