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Program for Drug-Addicted Mothers has 1st Success Story

Eight months ago the Shelby County District Attorney and a prominent judge announced mothers who delivered babies with drugs in their system shouldn't just sit in jail, they should be rehabilitated.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Eight months ago the Shelby County District Attorney and a prominent judge announced mothers who delivered babies with drugs in their system shouldn't just sit in jail, they should be rehabilitated.

The program is called Born Addicted. The first mother chosen for the pilot program said she didn't like coming to court everyday and she especially didn't like the judge, but now she can say she and her son live healthy lives.

"I was like, he's trying to punish me, I just wanted to go home," said mother Amanda McHan of Drug Court Judge Tim Dwyer.

She doesn't feel that way now.

"He's great, I love him," she said, "He's doing everything he can to help."

Amanda and her 11 month-old son Aidan hold a special place in Judge Tim Dwyer's heart.

"If not the proudest, it's right up there at the top, it was the day Amanda came into court and told me she got custody of her little boy," he said.

Amanda is the first to graduate. When Judge Dwyer helped start the pilot program, designed to clean up cocaine-addicted mothers, he thought it was going to be difficult.

"But, I found it to be very rewarding and the people who are in it are very responsive and are interested in getting their lives back and their children back."

The Born Addicted program has eight women now, including Ora Boler, who's still in the program. Four of her children were born addicted. The judge and the Attorney General's Office are working on getting more money and hope to add about a dozen more women.

As for Amanda, the scariest day of her life was when she couldn't take Aidan home from the hospital and knew it was time.

"Especially if you're pregnant and you can't seem to stop on your own, definitely get help before it's too late," Amanda advised. "I got him back, but sometimes I have seen that's not the case."

She says she was pretty far along in her term before she even realized she was pregnant, then stopped and got help.

"It's just me and him, so it's pretty tough some days, but we get through it. I'm just glad to have him back."

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