From NPR, Shots Health News From NPR www.npr.org
By Lisa Gillespie
Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She's seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it's mostly opioids. Most of her clients are parents who have lost custody of their children because of drug use. Poole remembers one mom in particular.
"She had her kids removed the first time for cocaine. And then she had actually gotten them back," she says. But three months later, the mother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.
"She had to go through the whole thing all over again — having supervised visits with the kids, then having overnights," Poole recalls. Starting again from the bottom, the mom took steps to reclaim her life.
And, eventually, she did regain custody of her children. Poole recently ran into the woman at the grocery store.
"She hugged me," Poole says. "I don't know how to describe it. It just makes you feel like, wow, what you did really did make a difference in someone's life."
Poole is now a supervisor in the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams program, which is funded primarily by the state. It's an intensive program for parents who have had their kids taken away because of substance abuse and the resulting neglect or mistreatment of the children. The goal is to create a faster process to reunite those families.
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