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La Bodega de la Familia Provides Help for Families of Drug Addicts in New York


November-December 1997

La Bodega de la Familia, a program which started in October 1996 on New York's Lower East Side, works to keep distraught families intact so they can help rescue drug-addicted relatives from going back to drugs after being released from prison (Christopher Wren, "Drug Program Helps Forgotten Victims of Addiction," New York Times, September, 25, 1997, p. A31).

One participant of the program, whose son is in prison for drug dealing, took custody of his grandsons. He said, "there was help for the people who used drugs, but there wasn't any help for the families, like me." Carol Shapiro, La Bodega's director and the former Assistant Commissioner of Corrections under Mayor David Dinkins, said, "We've been so focused on punishment and demonizing drug use that little thought has been given to poor people who suffer because of substance abuse" by their relatives. La Bodega has an annual budget of $800,000 and serves 30 families. The City of New York, the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Drug Policy Foundation, and the Vera Institute of Justice in Manhattan help fund the program. The New York Police Department refers relatives of drug offenders to the center.

La Bodega de la Familia - 272 East 3rd St., New York, NY 10009, Tel: (212) 982-2335, Fax: (212) 982-1765.