I think it speaks volumes about about the attitudes and stigma that this kind of program taps.
When Joanne Chavarria’s grandmother died last summer, she coped by turning to the bottle. “I started to drink. And then I started to smoke some weed. And then I started doing meth,” says the 32-year old from Merced, California. Chavarria, who began abusing drugs at the age of 12, was eight months pregnant at the time. Last August, she gave birth to drug-addicted twins, and California’s Child Protective Services took the infants, and Chavarria’s three other children, into custody.As with other addicts, the road to recovery for Chavarria began with counseling and a drug rehabilitation program. Less orthodox, however, was her decision to undergo a tubal ligation. “Addicts in my situation need to get their tubes tied,” she says. “When you stop having kids it makes you think about what else you can do in life.”Chavarria had the procedure done after meeting with Project Prevention, a North Carolina-based charity that gives drug addicts $300 if they go on long-term birth control or undergo sterilization. The aim of Barbara Harris, 57, the organization’s controversial founder, is to prevent addicts from having children they can’t care for and reduce the number of babies born exposed to drugs.