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This essay details the individual struggles of five Appalachian women during a period of their recovery from substance abuse and domestic violence. All five of the women graduated from the Rural Women's Recovery Program in Athens, Ohio. 

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), about 2.7 million women in the United States abuse alcohol or drugs. Only about 2 percent of government funding for drug and substance abuse is used for prevention, while the remainder is spent on substance abuse treatment, and its secondary consequences, such as prosecuting offenders and putting them in prison. The state of Ohio is in desperate need of legal reform to address drug abuse as a public health concern rather than a criminal justice issue. Public awareness needs to be raised regarding the strong correlation between domestic violence and substance abuse, as I have witnessed first-hand that many of these women become addicts as a result of incest or family violence. 

Those who are most affected by addiction are the children. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the estimated number of drug-exposed infants born each year in the United States ranges from 100,000 to 320,000. Most of these women have two or three children, of whom many have lost custody.

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