Children's Voice Jan/Feb 2007

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Annie's Story: Treatment Keeps Families Together

Annie Zander had been using for more than 12 years when her son, Jory, tested positive at birth for meth and marijuana. The Oregon Department of Human Services took custody of Jory and placed him in foster care while Annie attended substance abuse treatment and parenting classes. She got him back when he was about 5 months old, continued out-patient treatment, and graduated from treatment four months later.

But Annie hadn't kicked her addiction. "I hadn't been clean any of that time," she says. I was just going through the motions and acting like I was clean."

Annie was soon arrested for possession. She went to jail, and Jory went to foster care. Sentenced to 18 months, Annie was told she didn't have to serve her sentence if she completed two months of in-patient and one year of out-patient treatment. When she had been clean for six months, she was accepted into a transitional housing program for women and children. She received shelter, parenting supports, and case management to help her form a more healthy relationship with Jory.

Annie has been clean and sober for five years. She now works with a parenting program in Portland, where she mentors other women who are trying to keep their children, but she's particularly worried about the scarcity of similar programs for others. "We've done a good job at taking Sudafed off the shelves, but we need to do better at dealing with the sheer numbers of people who need treatment."

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