Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

Moms Who Lost Custody of Their Kids Due to Addiction Overcome Darkness to Find ‘Greater Things’

“I learned that I was a person and I was not my disease and that it was okay my kids could not keep me sober,” says Freedom House alumna Christina Compton

Three years ago, Christina Compton was in an incredibly dark period of her life after struggling with addiction to the point where she lost custody of her two kids and was arrested while pregnant with her third child.

“I felt like there was no hope or no chance,” Compton, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I carried around so much guilt and shame from losing my other kids and I felt like they should’ve been enough to keep me sober, [but] it wasn’t. I never understood what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t stop doing drugs or alcohol.”

Elsewhere in Kentucky, mom Brittany Edwards was also struggling with her substance addiction and had lost custody of her four kids.

“Since I can remember, I’ve been a drug addict,” says Edwards, now 31. “It took me many, many years to realize I needed help.”

However, in the time since then, both Compton and Edwards have turned their lives around — thanks to the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America and their treatment center, The Freedom House, which helps pregnant women and moms stay with their kids while recovering.

Edwards was the Manchester Freedom House’s first graduate this past July, while Compton finished Louisville’s program in August 2017 and now works there as a therapist, technician, peer support specialist and intake specialist.

RELATED: Introducing PEOPLE’s Mental Health Initiative: Let’s Talk About It

Courtesy Christina Compton Christina Compton with her kids, Christina, CaRon and Wyatt

Volunteers of America Brittany Edwards with her kids Rylen, Ally, Jackson and Bentley

“Without them, I don’t know where I would have ended up,” Compton says of the facility. “You go into rehab saying, ‘Okay, I’m going to learn about my disease. I’m going to get sober,’ and Volunteers of America gave me so much more than that.”

Adds Edwards: “I’ve never completed anything in my life except for this program… Being an addict, it’s hard. No one is immune to addiction and they just taught me how to accept life on life’s terms and be okay with that.”

For Compton, her history with substance abuse began at age 9 after she suffered an injury from gymnastics and was given narcotic pain medication.

“I remember taking those and liking the way that they made me feel,” she recalls, adding that she “went off the deep end” after her mom died when Compton was in the eighth grade.

By 19, Compton was a mother of two but still using drugs and alcohol in what she says became “a vicious cycle” and caused her to lose custody of her kids.

“I just felt like this empty vessel of a woman and a failure,” she explains. “Because the one thing in my mind that

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To Test Virus Vaccines, U.K. Study Will Intentionally Infect Volunteers

LONDON — Scientists at Imperial College London plan to deliberately infect volunteers with the coronavirus early next year, launching the world’s first effort to study how vaccinated people respond to being intentionally exposed to the virus and opening up a new, uncertain path to identifying an effective vaccine.

The hotly contested strategy, known as a human challenge trial, could potentially shave crucial time in the race to winnow a number of vaccine candidates. Rather than conducting the sort of trials now underway around the world, in which scientists wait for vaccinated people to encounter the virus in their homes and communities, researchers would purposely infect them in a hospital isolation unit.

Scientists have used this method for decades to test vaccines for typhoid, cholera and other diseases, even asking volunteers in the case of malaria to expose their arms to boxes full of mosquitoes to be bitten and infected. But whereas the infected could be cured of those diseases, Covid-19 has few widely used treatments and no known cure, putting the scientists in charge of Britain’s study in largely uncharted ethical territory.

Starting with tiny doses, the scientists will first administer the virus to small groups of volunteers who have not been vaccinated at all, in order to determine the lowest dose of the virus that will reliably infect them. That process, scheduled to begin in January at a hospital in north London, will be followed by tests in which volunteers are given a vaccine and then intentionally exposed to this carefully calibrated dose of the virus.

The study will be led by scientists with Imperial College London and hVivo, a company specializing in human challenge trials. It still requires approval from Britain’s drug regulation agency, but the government said on Tuesday that it would allot 34 million pounds, or $44 million, in public funding.

The first round of volunteers, up to 90 healthy adults aged 18 to 30, will have the virus dripped into their noses without having been vaccinated. If not enough participants become infected, the scientists will try to expose these early-stage volunteers to a higher dose, repeating the process until they have identified the necessary exposure level of the virus.

Only once the scientists decide on a dose, which they intend to do by late spring, will they begin the process of comparing vaccine candidates by immunizing the next group of volunteers and then exposing them to the virus.

Some vaccine candidates now undergoing trials may already have received approval by then, but researchers hope a challenge trial will add direct evidence of efficacy and help them compare the performance of different vaccines.

“Deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never undertaken lightly,” said Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist and co-investigator on the study. “However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one so well studied as Covid-19.”

Many important questions about the study remain unanswered. The British government’s vaccine task force, which will select the first vaccine candidates to include in

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Trudeau debunks COVID-19 ‘internment camp’ misinformation and rumours; Ontario’s daily case count jumps up over 800

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

PM addresses disinformation, misinformation around COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the amount of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 and the government’s response, including claims that there will be coronavirus internment camps in Canada.

The rumour began during Question Period on October 7, when Ontario MPP Randy Hillier asked if quarantine sites meant for incoming travellers who have no other place to quarantine were to be turned into “internment camps.”

Buzz spread of the false allegation, which was debunked by Trudeau today.

“We’ve seen over the past number of years a rise in concerted efforts around misinformation and disinformation on a broad range of subjects, designed to undermine people’s confidence in their institutions, in their democracies,” Trudeau said. “Some are foreign actors trying to disrupt successful democracies, others are people with extremist agendas.”

“As a government, we need to continue to stand strong, particularly during a public health crisis where the best thing Canadians can do is listen to experts, listen to doctors.”

The prime minister added that there is a “tremendous amount of noise and harmful misinformation” on the internet but Canadians need to continue to look to trusted sources of information, like Canada’s chief public health officer and regional health authorities.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said misinformation and disinformation does not help public health officials and the collective system has tried, through various means, to provide credible information to the public.

“I think there’s a part for almost everyone,” Dr. Tam said. “There’s a part for journalists who are in this room to help reveal the sort of tactics and measures that are at play, including bots and other aspects of what’s actually happening in the social media space.”

She added that there is also a role for social media platforms, who have put some measures in place like directing people to credible sites if people are using certain searches and taking down some “outrageous” disinformation.

Dr. Tam stressed that when individuals are looking at information, they need to ask themselves where it came from and if it’s credible.

“Be media smart as well as science smart,” Canada’s chief public health officer said.

In advance of a viable COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Tam indicated Canada needs to “immunize the population against [misinformation and disinformation] before the vaccine arrives.” This includes providing information on the safety measures and rigorous processes of regulatory authorities.

She added that getting a better understanding of why people spread misinformation and disinformation is also important.


Ontario sees spike in daily COVID-19 cases

Ontario reported 821 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest daily total since surpassing 900 cases in early October. The province also identified three more COVID-19 deaths.

Of the new cases, 327 are Toronto, 136 in Peel, 64 in

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Northwest Houston bars hope to weather COVID-19 restrictions that keep them closed

Bars across Texas reopened their doors following Gov. Greg Abbott’s Oct. 7 order allowing individual counties to determine if it’s safe.

However, Harris County is still not allowing bars that don’t serve food to reopen, including some in northwest Harris County. The county still has a high degree of community spread of the virus, county officials said.

“Indoor, maskless gatherings should not be taking place right now, and this applies to bars as well,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted in response to Abbott’s order.

While some bars have been able to reopen because they sell food, those without a kitchen or food truck are still left not knowing when they’ll be able to open again.

Franklin’s Tower, at 4307 Treaschwig Road in Spring, first closed in March for the initial shutdown, and was only open for a few weeks after being allowed to reopen in May.

“It’s absolutely terrible,” Franklin’s Tower owner Brandi Neal said. “We’re in the neighborhood where my venue has provided not only a lot of jobs, but also a community atmosphere around here.”

Neal said her bar was a community staple in Spring, offering local artists space to paint murals, live performances from area musicians every weekend and homemade goods from small business owners close by.

“Basically, I’m just trying to hold on,” Neal said. “I really thought we’d be able to stay open.”

Neal said she is working on acquiring a food truck for her bar so they can reopen. She said she wanted to be back open months ago but at this point isn’t sure when that will be possible.

She has applied for business loans to try to keep the bar afloat but said everything she applied for has either been denied or pending. Many of her employees are still waiting for the bar to reopen to start working again.

“Luckily, our customers have been really good for them, and they’ve been cleaning houses or mowing lawns or running errands for them,” Neal said. “Some have gotten a little part-time work with bars in other counties, but they’re all waiting for us to be open.”

Meanwhile, Ultra Bar, 744 Cypress Creek Parkway, was planning to debut in March before the pandemic hit, setting back their opening indefinitely.

“We were devastated,” Ultra Bar Co-Owner Jamie Woo-Hughley said. “We don’t know what the future is for the bar industry.”

Woo-Hughley said they had done a total reconstruction for their building, but didn’t add a kitchen — so now they’re unable to open their bar. Now, she said, they plan to add a food truck outside in hopes they will be able to open.

“That’s really the only thing we have to try and recover other than just acting as a venue,” she said. “Even with that, you don’t know how many people can come in.”

With indoor bars, Harris County epidemiologist Maria Rivera said it’s harder to stop the spread of viruses

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Hospitalized COVID-19 patients are five times more likely to die than patients hospitalized with flu, CDC says

Coronavirus patients are five times more likely to experience complications and die in the hospital than hospitalized flu patients, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday says. 

The CDC assessed data from the national Veterans Health Administration that included health records of nearly 4,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between March and May 31 and 5,453 patients hospitalized with influenza between Oct. 1, 2018 and Feb. 1, 2020. 

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Researchers found 21 percent of COVID-19 patients died in the hospital compared with 3.8 percent of those who died while hospitalized with the flu. 

“Findings from a large, national cohort of patients hospitalized within the VHA illustrate the increased risk for complications involving multiple organ systems among patients with COVID-19 compared with those with influenza, as well as racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19-associated complications,” the CDC report said. 

COVID-19 patients were hospitalized nearly three times longer than flu patients and had a higher risk of 17 respiratory and nonrespiratory complications — including more than twice the risk of pneumonia. They were also twice as likely to need intensive care and 19 times more likely to experience acute respiratory distress syndrome. 

Influenza patients were more likely to experience worsened asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Coronavirus patients were slightly older on average and flu patients had more underlying conditions. Researchers said Black and Hispanic patients were at higher risk for respiratory, neurologic and kidney complications than white patients. 

“Compared with influenza, COVID-19 is associated with increased risk for most respiratory and nonrespiratory complications. Certain racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” the CDC said. 

The CDC estimates there were about 22,000 influenza deaths last flu season with 38 million infections. As of Tuesday, more than 220,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the outbreak began earlier this year and more than 8.2 million have been infected. 








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Listen to the Men’s Health Minute for the Latest News in Fitness and Health

Whether you’re pounding the weights, cooking up dinner, or doing anything else with your hands, there are lots of times when you can’t sit back and read Men’s Health. Now, you can listen to it, no matter what else is going on.

a man flying through the air on top of a mountain: The Men's Health Minute gives you up-to-date content about health, fitness, and more on Alexa, Google Assistant, Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms.

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The Men’s Health Minute gives you up-to-date content about health, fitness, and more on Alexa, Google Assistant, Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms.

Introducing the brand new Men’s Health Minute. It’s a daily briefing that brings our authoritative advice and info for healthy living into your speakers and earbuds. Here’s how to access it:


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Go to Alexa app and search for Men’s Health Minute. Click enable and say to your device, “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?”

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Go to the Alexa app and search for Men’s Health Minute. Click enable and say, “Alexa, open Men’s Health Minute” or “Alexa, launch Men’s Health minute” or “Alexa, what’s the latest from Men’s Health Minute?”

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Say to your device, “OK Google, play Men’s Health Minute” or “OK Google, open Men’s Health Minute” or “OK Google, what’s the latest from Men’s Health Minute?” You can also say “Men’s Health Minute” to access content on Google Narrative News.

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Business mandates mount as New Mexico deals with virus surge

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday unveiled more requirements for businesses after a string of record-breaking daily case counts prompted renewed restrictions just last week.

Starting Friday, restaurants, breweries, retail stores, gyms and other businesses will be required to close for two weeks if they have more than four separate incidents of COVID-19 among employees within a 14-day period. Those businesses that have had at least two outbreaks will be listed on the state’s new watch list.

Restaurants that want to continue offering limited indoor dining must also complete specific training and keep a log of customers for at least three weeks. Retail stores must close by 10 p.m., and state-operated museums and historical sites will be closed until further notice.

Lujan Grisham said the restrictions are not meant to punish businesses but rather curb what has become one of the highest rates of spread in the U.S. New Mexico on Tuesday reported an additional 599 cases, bringing the total to nearly 37,900 since the pandemic began. Another seven deaths were reported, and hospitalizations have increased nearly 90% over the last two weeks.

“We don’t have much time,” the governor said during a briefing. “If we don’t attack and snuff out the virus right now by working collectively with businesses and each other, then the virus will win and it leaves us very little opportunity to save lives and to keep our health systems from being overrun.”

Despite having some of the strictest rules in the country, Lujan Grisham’s administration has been struggling in recent weeks with a surge in cases and increases in transmission and positivity rates. The governor said she believes the exponential increase is the result of people letting their guard down and not taking precautions.

The Republican Party of New Mexico called the latest requirements another attack on businesses, saying the Democratic governor’s policies during the pandemic have led to a collapsed economy, tens of thousands of job losses and hundreds of permanently shuttered restaurants.

“Locking down New Mexico more is not the answer,” party chairman Steve Pearce said, suggesting that the governor’s rules were arbitrary.

Under the state’s rapid response program, officials responded to more than 830 businesses during the past week. That marked a six-fold increase over the last month. Businesses on the watch list range from hospitals and medical marijuana operations to law firms, car dealerships, grocery stores and gas stations.

Sandia National Laboratories is among them. The state’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau has opened an investigation of the lab after receiving a complaint about alleged violations of the state public health order.

A letter sent Monday by the bureau and obtained by The Associated Press alleges that Sandia failed to comply with the health order by not limiting operations to remote work to the greatest extent practicable to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state claims employees were ordered to cease telework and report to work in-person.

The state is requiring the lab to inform

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Colorado governor appeals to residents to stem virus uptick

DENVER (AP) — Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday appealed to the resolve of residents, rather than new government mandates, to stem what he called an alarming acceleration of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Colorado.

To that end, Polis announced a public awareness campaign, Step Up Colorado, designed to reinforce personal responsibility in mask-wearing, social distancing, getting tested, self-quarantining and other behaviors to stem the virus’s spread.

In a briefing on the pandemic, Polis refused to say new statewide actions are needed and suggested roughly 80% of the pandemic fight comes down to personal decisions. He insisted local health agencies, such as those in Denver and Mesa counties, which are seeing rising numbers of cases, are best prepared to address that increase with residents.

Polis cited Boulder County, where health authorities imposed drastic measures on social gatherings three weeks ago and brought down the number of new cases from 150 per day to 30 per day.

Left unchecked, the upward trends in new confirmed cases and hospitalizations could test hospital intensive-care capacity in December, the Democratic governor said.

The state reported 1,208 new cases on Tuesday and 417 virus hospitalizations. There are roughly 1,800 intensive-care beds statewide for all health emergencies, Polis said. More than three-quarters of those beds were occupied for all reasons over the previous week, the state health department said Monday.

Health officials reported there were nearly 17 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents Friday, roughly matching the state’s highest recorded rate in April.

More than 2,000 people have died of the virus in Colorado, which has reported more than 80,000 positive cases. The number of cases is probably higher because of a lack of testing and other reasons.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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Peer-based anti-bullying initiatives may harm victims more, researcher says

Oct. 20 (UPI) — Encouraging classmates to defend bullied pupils may do more harm than good, according to a review of existing research published Tuesday by Child Development Perspectives.

Unlike programs that include parental training, firm discipline or enhanced playground supervision, interventions that involve working with the peers of bullied students tend to lead to increases in the behavior, the author wrote.

So-called “bystander interventions,” in which peers are trained to come to the defense of the bullying victims, may actually increase feelings of victimization and distress by “disempowering” them, reinforcing or provoking bullying or eroding broader support for them, the review suggests.

“Many school bullying prevention programs encourage and train peer bystanders, or helpers, to get actively involved in assisting with possible instances of bullying,” review co-author Karyn L. Healy said in a statement.

“Although this approach is very common and well-intentioned, there is no evidence that it helps victims [and it] may actually produce adverse outcomes for victims,” said Healy, a research officer from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia.

Although most researchers agree school bullying is harmful to students’ mental health, studies designed to evaluate the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs have generated mixed results and demonstrated few if any benefits for secondary school students.

Most studies on the effectiveness of bullying prevention programs assume that each program affects bullying and victimization in a simple and unified way.

Healy found, however, that many programs combine a range of different strategies and participants, which are likely to produce varying results.

Recent evidence suggests that even when prevention programs are successful in reducing bullying, they still may be harmful to the individual students who are victimized the most.

“Having lots of peers involved makes the situation more public, which can be damaging to the social reputation of victims, [and] also prevents the victim from handling a situation themselves and may make them look weak in the eyes of the bully,” Healy said.

“Training students to intervene in bullying also has the potential of leading to overuse of peer defense strategies because of benefits to helpers, such as making helpers feel they have higher status or increasing helpers’ feelings of belonging in school,” she said.

To lessen the risk to vulnerable students, Healy suggests that schools be wary of bullying prevention programs that lack evidence of effectiveness for reducing bullying and victimization.

Schools should avoid using strategies that boost peer visibility of victimization, such as identifying a victim in a class meeting, she said.

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States prepare for their own vaccine safety reviews amid worries about Trump’s influence on the FDA

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in announcing his state’s vaccine review panel. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who announced his state’s 11 member panel of doctors and scientists on Monday said: “Of course we won’t take anyone’s word for it.”

President Donald Trump’s intense push for a vaccine before the election – which is now virtually impossible given that none of the leading vaccine candidates will be ready by then — on top of administration pressure on the FDA and Centers for Disease Control, have sowed growing public doubt about vaccine safety, particularly as the research into the shots has progressed at an unprecedented breakneck pace.

A CNN poll from earlier this month showed only about half of Americans might get a vaccine, while a more recent Stat News poll revealed 58 percent of the U.S. public said they would get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine was available – a big decline over its prior poll. If large numbers of people spurn the shot, its power to beat back the pandemic is diminished.

States have not yet released a lot of details about their vaccine reviews. The additional layer of oversight raises questions about whether a state agency could impede use of a federally-approved vaccine, and whether they could end up slowing down the pandemic response, rather than enhancing it.

Even though governors say they are protecting their residents in case pressure from the White House leads the FDA to approve a flawed vaccine, some officials and public health advocates are warning that these state interventions could confuse the public and prevent people from seeking a shot even if it is safe and effective.

It is “hard to see how any state could replicate anything like the national, gold standard system” of FDA approval, said former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan, who now heads a major health policy center at Duke.

Critics of the state review panels include both Republicans in Congress as well as nonpartisan public health experts in both the advocacy and academic worlds.

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the outgoing top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the FDA, called the state vaccine panels a “reckless” idea that would “dangerously undermine the FDA” and increase public vaccine hesitancy.

Walden told a recent committee hearing that the FDA had ample safeguards, including an independent data safety monitoring board for each vaccine trial, as well as the outside experts that serve on the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has said the advisory panel, which meets for the first time to discuss Covid-19 vaccines this Thursday, will review every vaccine prior to an emergency authorization or approval.

States “would be hard-pressed to find more qualified experts” than those already on the FDA and CDC advisory panels, said Amy Pisani, executive director of the nonprofit Vaccinate Your Family. Their “recommendations will speak for themselves,” she said.

Traditionally the states have

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