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Mother finds redemption after drug addiction

Oct. 4, 2016: A mother who fought addiction and criminal charges for giving birth to a drug addicted baby is sharing her story of redemption to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

Robin Wilhoit, WBIR 6:12 PM. EST October 04, 2016

A Tennessee mother who has struggled with addiction wants to make it easier to find help.

Only 11 percent of people who need treatment for drug addiction in Tennessee actually receive it, according to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

And there’s a growing epidemic of babies born drug dependent in East Tennessee.

Brittany Hudson’s teens and early 20’s were consumed with alcohol and oxycodone.

In 2014, Hudson was pregnant and addicted. She became one of the first women in Tennessee charged under a new state law with assaulting her unborn child. Continue reading

Request for Comment on Report Entitled: Advancing the Care of Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants

Request for Comment on Report Entitled: Advancing the Care of Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants: A Foundation for Clinical Guidance

A Notice by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on 08/03/2016


SAMHSA, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), in HHS announces the opening of a docket to obtain public comment on a report entitled: Advancing the Care of Pregnant and Parenting Women with Opioid Use Disorder and their Infants: A Foundation for Clinical Guidance.

This report describes the formal process agreed on and followed under the guidance of the federal steering committee (FSC). It explains the RAND Corporation (RAND)/University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Appropriateness Method (RAM), justifies its adoption, and reports the outcomes of its application that will form the basis for the development of clinical guidance. This report will serve as the foundation for the development of clinical guidance to be used by providers caring for women with opioid use disorder and their infants. Continue reading

President Obama Signs the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

Office of the Press Secretary

July 22, 2016 

Statement by the President on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

Today, I signed S.524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 into law.  This legislation includes some modest steps to address the opioid epidemic.   Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none. 

However, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need.  In fact, they blocked efforts by Democrats to include $920 million in treatment funding. Continue reading


Contact: Lisa Sangoi
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
212-255-9252; 646-577-1996
July 22, 2016
Indiana Court of Appeals Rules that Legislature Did Not Intend to Punish Women Who Have Abortions
Patel’s Conviction for Neglect of a Dependent Modified, Reducing Her Sentence

On July 22, 2016, the Indiana Court of Appeals announced its decision to overturn the conviction of Purvi Patel for the crime of feticide. Patel was accused of attempting to have an abortion and was convicted of two crimes: feticide and neglect of a dependent. Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. On appeal, a unanimous panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the feticide conviction as contrary to the purpose and clear legislative intent of the law. The Court, however, upheld the neglect of a dependent charge but found that while it was bound to accept the jury finding that the fetus had been born alive, the state had failed to prove that she caused the death of the newborn. As a result, the Court vacated her conviction for a Class A Felony, requiring that the judgment be modified to a Class D Felony with a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.

Ms. Patel has already been incarcerated in the Indiana Women’s Prison for 1 year and 4 months. Continue reading

Historic Victory! Senate Passes Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act of 2016 92-2‏

Announced by Faces & Voices of Recovery July 13, 2016
Today, July 13th, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 with a historic 92 – 2 vote!

For nearly three years, recovery advocates have been working to educate our policymakers about addiction as a public health crisis and that long term recovery is a reality for millions of Americans. Through national call-in days, letters, forums and many, many individual conversations with policymakers, and the work of an amazing network of Recovery Community Organizations across the US. Our work with a great team of partner organizations in prevention, treatment, law enforcement and recovery in Washington DC has been an amazing effort!

More work is to be done to ensure appropriations are made to fund this critical bill! Your action and continued support will be needed to make recovery voices heard in the appropriations process.

Join us in showing our appreciation to The Senate for passing the most expansive piece of legislation the addiction field has seen in a decades!
Use the hashtags #CARAPassed #ThankYouUSSenate

View Final Bill


We did it! CARA passes the House!‏

Addiction Policy Forum, July 8, 2016, CARA – the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act PASSES THE HOUSE!!

Today, the CARA Conference bill passed the House of Representatives in a historic 407-to-5 bipartisan vote.

To quote Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), “CARA is a historical moment.”

Please take a moment to let your U.S. Representative know how much you appreciate his/her vote for CARA. Then, let the Senate know we’re waiting for their vote next week.


Sign-On Letter
Infographic – Reasons to Support the CARA Conference Report
CARA Grant Breakdown

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This was posted on May 9, 2016, on The Donaldson Adoption Institute website:

Mother’s Day evokes handmade cards from grade school kids to their moms, flowery cards to new moms, and loving cards for years of devotion to mothers from their adult children. For mothers who grapple with substance use the desire to do right by their children is complicated by the weight of addiction, which can tear families apart.

Making a documentary about a treatment program that helps mothers with substance use disorders keep their children is important to filmmaker, Sheila Ganz. In 1969, Ganz was an unwed mother. She became pregnant as the result of being raped. Her parents wanted her to go into a home for unwed mothers in Boston. Ganz didn’t want to go there. So she got a job, saved her money, bought a car and headed out for Los Angeles. She totaled her car just east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was pinned under the car with a fractured pelvis at five months pregnant. After being in the hospital, she went into a Booth Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers. Ganz was not given a choice and unwillingly relinquished her newborn daughter for adoption. “Losing my daughter felt like an amputation. I lived for the day when I would find her and tell her I love her.” Continue reading

Pregnant women with addictions need healthcare, not handcuffs

The Guardian, April 12, 2016,  by Hernandez D Stroud

Every 19 minutes, a baby is born in America to a mother who struggles with opiate addiction, a percentage that has soared in the past decade alongside a broader addiction spike. The increase has forced some state lawmakers to decide whether the mother’s drug use, which can leave the baby with post-birth withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), is a criminal justice issue or a disease.

As with heroin and opioid addiction outside of pregnancy, the consensus among doctors and advocates is that this is a health matter, and not one for the courts. (NAS is a highly treatable condition without long-term effects, though it’s still an unfortunate one: newborns with NAS convulse, projectile vomit and emit a telltale shriek.) President Obama agrees – he recently announced an increase in funds dedicated to treatment, and an increase in the number of patients a doctor can treat with some maintenance medications.

State lawmakers, on the other hand, are still learning. They tend to default to treating it as a crime, only to find that doesn’t work. Continue reading

Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act National Call-In Day December 9, 2015

Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act National Call-In Day December 9, 2015

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015 is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation to date for addiction support services, designating between $40 million and $80 million toward advancing treatment and recovery support services in state and local communities across the country, which will help save the lives of countless people.

CARA needs your support as it moves forward through the legislative process! Get into action and contact your Senator and Representative today and urge them to co-sponsor and support CARA! Continue reading

National Advocates for Pregnant Women victories in Arkansas, Wisconsin‏

Cynthia Greenlee, National Advocates for Pregnant Women
Phone: 212-255-9252, ext. 38
NAPW marks 2 legal victories in states that have incarcerated women
based on pregnancy and drug-use claims
Appeal will free Arkansas woman, Wisconsin case moves forward
NEW YORK – On Oct. 8, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Melissa McCann Arms, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person when she gave birth in 2013. The Arms v. State of Arkansas victory comes a week after a federal district court ruling that allowed a constitutional challenge to the 1997 Wisconsin “cocaine mom” law to go forward. Together, the cases represent two important and positive rulings that uphold the rights and health of pregnant women.

In its ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court concluded that the intent of Arkansas’ law was to prevent the drugging of another person through the use of “knock-out drugs” and not to punish women who become pregnant and deliver despite drug use.
Continue reading