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North Carolina woman pays addicts to get on long-term birth control or get sterilized



CONCORD, N.C. (WLOS) — A North Carolina woman is working to reduce the number of babies born addicted to drugs by offering long-term birth control or sterilization to addicts. The program, called Project Prevention, was founded by Barbara Harris more than 20 years ago.

Harris said she started the program after she adopted four children, all born to the same mother who was using drugs while pregnant.

"We got a phone call saying she (the addicted mother) had had her eighth boy and do we want to keep him? We wanted them all to keep them together," Harris said of the children.

During the adoption process, Harris came up with the idea for Project Prevention. Over the years, she has paid more than 7,000 addicts $300 each to get on long-term birth control or get sterilized.

"To me, it's common sense, prefect sense. Someone who is strung out on drugs and alcohol shouldn't conceive a child," Harris said.

Harris has driven around the country in her RV, putting up signs and speaking to those who are addicted to drugs.

"They call our 800 number and give us an address. We send them the paperwork, and they go to their doctor to decide which birth control is best for them. They then mail back the paperwork, and we verify it. We then send them money. It's a very simple process," Harris said.

She hopes by adding the money as an incentive, it will help lower the rate of babies born to mothers who are addicted.

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