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UNC Horizons Program debuts new holistic care space

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaks at the opening for the Horizons Center, which helps pregnant or parenting moms with substance abuse problems. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaks at the opening for the Horizons Center, which helps pregnant or parenting moms with substance abuse problems. 

The program, which is a substance use disorder treatment service for women founded 24 years ago, can now fit all its different services into the new space.

“Twenty-seven days into recovery, I was given three things — compassion, hope and a beautiful baby girl to raise on my own. The staff at UNC Horizons knew what I was capable of before I could even imagine it,” said Lucy Brown, former patient and current employee with UNC Horizons.

The new facility includes a five-classroom day care center, a kitchen, group therapy rooms, prenatal care and psychiatric care.

“Just as UNC sets the bar for public education, Horizons is setting the bar for shaping excellent clinical service, pushing innovation and access to affordable comprehensive addiction treatment for women and their children,” said Hendrée Jones, executive director of UNC Horizons.

The program’s co-founder and executive medical director, Dr. John Thorp, said he was excited about the new space but didn’t want people in the audience to forget that this is only the first step and that there is a lot more work to do.

N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper spoke about the need to emphasize treatment options rather than just enforcement and arrest.

“People ask me what do I want at the end of the day after being governor and I tell them I want a North Carolina population that’s better educated, that’s healthier and more prosperous,” Cooper said.

“And we know that substance abuse and addiction can do as much as anything to destroy those three goals in people’s lives.”

The clinic in Horizons sees about 100 women per year, and a total of 225 women come through the program per year.

“I think this is a day when we’re seeing a wonderful step that takes an internationally recognized UNC Horizons program to the next level at probably a more fundemental level,” Folt said.

Director of research and evaluation Kim Andringa said two of the main barriers for women getting treatment are transportation and child care, but the new space solves those problems by having in-house day care and treatment options so the women do not have to travel.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., emphasized the importance of money for the center and how it can help curb the opioid epidemic in North Carolina.

“This is a model program that other states will replicate because of the 20 years of experience they’ve got,” Burr said.

Jones said now that Horizons has the space, the next goals for the program are to increase housing options for mothers coming out of the program and to focus on collegiate recovery.

“We women are the warriors in recovery,” Brown said.

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