CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Getting help with substance abuse can be a struggle in North Carolina.
For pregnant women and mothers, it’s even tougher.
A local program has been recognized by the Pew Charitable Trusts as a “best practice” program that is breaking down barriers.
“Women are looking for treatment. Their biggest fear is leaving their children,” explained Lucy Brown.
Brown dealt with addiction, even while pregnant with her first child.
“I had such guilt because of the way I acted during my pregnancy,” she added.
Her mother contacted UNC Horizons: a facility with a comprehensive care program for pregnant women and mothers who are struggling with substance abuse, and their children.
“They can receive help, hope, and healing,” said Hendree Jones, the Executive Director of UNC Horizons.
Those are three things people need now more than ever.
According to the North Carolina Health Department, there was a 38% increase in total overdose deaths between 2018-2020.
“When I did have my daughter, a month into my stay at Horizons, they were there for me 24/7,” said Brown.
Jones told CBS17 that Horizons does so much more than help with counseling and getting women sober.
“We can break the intergenerational cycles of abuse and addiction, to be able to allow future generation to thrive,” she explained.
Hope Holton knows the power of the program.
She was admitted, with her toddler, after an overdose left her on life support for several days.
“They have provided my child with therapy, speech therapy, or any kind of therapy she needed,” said Holton.
Drug addictions and an unstable home life can create problems for children.
“Children may also have some trauma from being out on the streets with you,” added Brown.
Both Brown and Holton saw success through the program.
They’re excited that the Horizons team is building a new 32-unit transitional housing project.
“Homestead Gardens” will allow mothers a smoother transition to independence while the recovery network continues to give them the support they need.
“When we leave treatment, we are a family,” said Brown. “And that is the goal.”
Homestead Gardens should be completed by 2025.
In addition to the substance abuse treatment, the staff at UNC Horizons provides legal assistance to clients and helps them achieve their academic and professional goals.