Drug Addicts Are Paid Not to Breed

Would you take $315 to be sterilized? Well, if you’re a drug addict and you live in the United Kingdom, you can. Project Prevention, a North Carolina–based charity, is offering £200 ($315) to any man who agrees to be sterilized.

Project Prevention founder Barbara Harris admitted her methods amounted to “bribery,” but said it was the only way to stop babies being physically and mentally damaged by drugs during pregnancy.

Apparently, Harris has already paid over 3,500 addicts in the United States for what she calls “long-term birth control.” She set up the organization after adopting the child of a crack addict.

Um, isn’t this eugenics? The idea smacks of self-righteousness, like all drug addicts are some kind of lost cause. At the same time, it’s encouraging drug addicts to continue being drug addicts. Their recovery is a nonissue when they can be tossed cash and forgotten about.

Project Prevention is merely sweeping a monumental problem under a fancy rug.

About Ryan O'Hanlon

Ryan O'Hanlon is the managing editor of the Good Men Project. He used to play soccer and go to college. He's still trying to get over it. You can follow him on Twitter @rwohan.


  1. Though they are being paid, addicts think of nothing more than when they will be high next. If the dealer said to them i will hand you a $300 rock that will sterilize you… they wouldnt think twice. So whats the difference if a charity does it or not. Its not a matter of deeming a parent worthy, it’s preventing the degradation of our population, prventing the extroardinarily diffuclt life of disabled peoples; and spending the taxes of individuals not running the streets, doing drugs, and popping out babies for the system to handle. What gives a drug addict the right to decide that society will have to take care of their children when they can’t, won’t, and don’t want to anymore or even to begin with. A drug addicts suffers addiction and society must suffer along with them…. Bullshit, sterlise them….. if they want a child let them adopt a crack baby and make up for some they put in the system. I personally know a girl that shoots methamphetamines and has had 5 different children over an 8 year span, she never has and never intends on being a parent to those children. Being pregnant didn’t keep her from getting high. She didn’t care if the children came out messed, in pain, and addicted themselves. She knew the system would take care of them or someone in her family when she decided not to, and instead to go out and get high. Many addicts don’t succeed at sobering up permanently and i do agree more funds should be put into recovery however, you can’t force someone to want to recover, but you can let them decide if they are going to drag the rest of society down with them. Again i say let them get sterilized if they want to cause they’re going to get those drugs one way or another, wherther it be rob someone, sell themselves, or even their children.

  2. The program is a great idea. keep in mind, the program is only part of the solution. While treating an addict, don’t give them the chance to ruin a baby’s life, likely will not stop at just one baby either. I think most people criticize the program from afar. As soon as you see the problem up close, you realize that stronger action than drug counseling is needed. The other option to the program seems to be lots and lots of welfare checks, CPS calls, and Medicare/Medicaid financial drains. I hope that people realize what a great program this is, and I hope that it is perceived as only part of what needs to be done to prevent child abuse, financial drain, and to lead addicts down a path of recovery. If you think that an addict having a child is going to aid their recovery, think again. More stress leads to more reasons for an addict to escape the life they already couldn’t handle. Give addicts a way to recover without having children to take care of. If an addict can’t take care of themselves, the addict has absolutely no right to bring a child into the world.

  3. Jessica F. says:

    As the adult offspring of hard-core addicts – heroin, cocaine, and meth, specifically – I totally support and encourage this voluntary option.

    Nothing about this idea is forced.

    Many of the above commentators have mentioned “helping” the addicts with the “medical problem” of addiction.

    Addiction is a personal choice. But that’s really beside the point, isn’t it? This idea has absolutely nothing to do with helping the addicts themselves. This is to help society as a whole – and to prevent a few more babies from being born to self-absorbed moron parents who have no interest or ability to take care of them because of their own CHOICE of self-destructive behavior.

    I absolutely love the way people can use the word “addict” as a crutch to remove personal accountability.

  4. Ryan, I’m not sure how you got this article printed, seeing as you have several blatant errors in it. One, the PP founder adopted 5 drug-addicted babies, several from THE SAME MOM, not one. Two, PP OFFERS sterilizations AND long-term BC options, to men AND women, and yes they offer financial compensation as inducement.

    So how is making a choice the same as eugenics? i’ve been sterilized, in fact I paid a lot of money for it after my last baby. Am I a victim of eugenics? Are all other users of norplant and IUD’s victims? If you can’t trust these addicts making the choice on taking this money, how on earth could you trust them with a tiny baby?

    “Why not help these people with their addictions or pay for them to be entered into a treatment program?”

    One,because they made their choice and it is no one else’s business to sheild them form the effects of their CHOICE to use drugs. Addiction is NOT a disease. It’s a behavior. Walk through a pediatric cancer ward, Ryan, and tell a ding 10 year old that you raising your glass or your hypodermic is the same as what they have. I dare you,
    The PP people aren’t particularly concerned with helping addicts. They are concerned with preventing babies lives of unimaginable physical and mental hardship, caused by being brought into the world by a parent who filled your unborn body with toxic substances.

  5. You;’re a raging idiot and everything that’s wrong with this world. Why don’t you just die already and go to your ‘heaven’ where your ‘god’ will tell you whatever it is that you thought up in your own head for an afterlife!

    Well, first of all, because I’m a godless harlot.

    Maybe work on the civil debate thing, Sheena?

  6. “Drug addict” is a description of a temporary set of behaviors. It is not an identity.

    Consider sterilizing every musician who’s been a drug addict at some point in their life – still support it? (Now I’ll grant that you may have a case with Courtney and Kurt, but still…)

    Why not something temporary – no kids as long as you’re using? Why permanent?

    And why would anyone assume that a ‘drug addict’ is mentally, emotionally, and legally capable of sensibly making such a long-term decision? Would you accept such choices yourself if the hospital gave you a bunch of contracts to sign while you were out of it on painkillers after an operation?

    • “Consider sterilizing every musician who’s been a drug addict at some point in their life – still support it?”

      Um, nobody’s advocating forced sterilization.

      “And why would anyone assume that a ‘drug addict’ is mentally, emotionally, and legally capable of sensibly making such a long-term decision?”

      By all means, let’s have somebody who isn’t raise another human being.

    • If they CHOOSE it, yes! Keep your laws off their body, right!?

    • Chainsaw…….HOw many drug addicts do you know? And how many have recovered??? By your definition its a temporary state. But Ive seen more people die from using, go to jail and come back out to immediately use, go to program after program and work them so they get out of jail time, just to go back to doing meth as soon as humanly possible. Ive seen some quit for a few months because of children….then start right up again. Obviously you didn’t grow up in a drug broken home like I did so you couldn’t truelyunderstand, but if you could you would probably be a little more persuaded to allow them to make just one more decisions they are incapable of making. addicts stop growing emotionally and pretty much mentally at the age they started using hard. Considering most people start in their teen and twenties nowadays if something isnt done the next few generations are fucked.

  7. I’m with you, Lee. I’d prefer to exist, too.

    I inherited genes that contributed to addiction. I’ve probably passed them on to my children, too.

    And yet we thrive.

    Personally, I find this sterilization-for-money program offensive, and morally wrong. I think a reductive program designed to purchase a basic human right (and I think most reasonable people would agree that reproduction is as basic as it gets) from a vulnerable population who are found to be undesirable by other elements of society… is fucking awful.

    • Cooper Fleishman says:


    • WHY should fucking up kids be a basic human right? Do the KIDS have no basic human rights? No one cares if they inherit a gene-this is about not making innocent babies suffer horrible consequences for their irresponsible parents decisions. Period.

      • momof4: Your question is “why” is it a basic human right? Well, you’re a parent, right? Think about it. If “fucking up kids” wasn’t a basic human right, nobody would have kids. Nobody can foresee all outcomes, can they? Certainty like yours implies an amazing insight into the future, especially other people’s futures. Can you bend these powers to anticipate the lives and relative suffering and lifetime outcomes of all babies born, or just those of addicted parents? Can you foresee with the same certainty even that of your own? I surely can’t of mine. I suppose, were I able to do that like you can, then I might also not consider reproduction a basic human right, but rather something that’s only reserved for those who deserve it and who can guarantee things will work out “right.” And, I suppose, if I had this gift, I would get all worked up like you have about children that don’t even exist yet. Remember, they’re paying these junkies not to reproduce at all … thereby rendering your kid’s basic-rights argument moot. I mean, without your ability to see the future, people would say that I was projecting horrible consequences onto children that didn’t even exist except in my imagination.

        Now, were you to ask me if I were more concerned with the addicts who were willing to sell their reproductive abilities off than the theoretical children they’ll never have, I’d say yes, because they are real, live human beings with a very dangerous disease that causes all kinds of collateral damage for society. They are the ones I think it is in our interest to help, and help right now. Creating a program based on “_______ people shouldn’t breed” is arrogant at best, and provides a walk-away solution for sideline solipsists at worst. It creates an illusion of control over a very bad, very complex problem and a solution that just doesn’t exist.

  8. Nice find, Ryan. Controversy is so fun to blog about!

    I’ve personally experienced the inheritance of the “alcoholic gene” from grandfather-father-me. Personally, I would rather exist than not.

    But if people are given some kind of incentive NOT to pro-create, there is something else, perhaps subconscious, behind the decision. Or maybe the decision is ruled by the impulse for a quick fix/reward. Whatever. I still believe that people have the POWER and WILL to make decisions. And although I would never create this incentive for people, those who do will reap the karmic consequences for doing so. Nothing that we cause has no effect….so to each his own.

  9. I’m a left leaning, casual drug user (coke, mdma, etc). And just because of that, do not think that I disagree with this.

    If you’re deep enough in the game that $350 is worth getting your tubes tied forever, then effin do it. By simply participating that just means you have no drive to be a functional member of society. I feel like when it comes to drug use, the moment something like this becomes a good idea to the user is the moment it becomes a viable option for the rest of society.

    • Opiate Addict says:

      You have no idea what it’s like to go from “casual drug user” to full-blown addict. When you get there, though, you will realize that anything for money sounds like a good idea and all that matters is getting that next hit. It is total despair and you have lost the ability to think about anything but that next hit. Do you understand this? There is no “[it] becomes a good idea to the user” because ANYTHING is a good idea when it gets you to your next hit. This is equivalent to offering someone who is choking the Heimlich if only they have sex with you after, “Well, it sure beats choking.” In this way, getting that $300 sure beats rocking in pain under the bridge …

      • “There is no “[it] becomes a good idea to the user” because ANYTHING is a good idea when it gets you to your next hit.”

        You keep pointing out exactly why addicts should have no kids.

  10. Tom Matlack says:

    I am way late to this convo, but I have to say whenever I hear about drugs I don’t think about sterilizing the user but dealing with the larger problem at stake. The entire country of Mexico is at war with itself over the demand created by US drug users. And in our cities young men grow up learning that drug dealing (and jail) are the only real option. To me the answer is simple: legalize pretty much all drugs and deal directly with addiction. For god sakes don’t sterilize anyone.

  11. Well, this is similar to asking the poets and great lovers of the world not breed. For my money, “addiction” and creativity go hand and hand.

    I think I’ll start a fund for South Carolina “Christians” not to breed, because:

    -Fundamentalists are dumb (see above)
    -We need to breed out unimaginative people
    -Jiingoists and ignoramuses brought you the Iraq War
    -Even when Christians are nice, they take orders from spittal mouthed evangelists with blonde sprayed pompadors
    -Well, you get the idea

  12. loved this. almost wrote about it for Babble, but figured it probably wasn’t “parenty” enough. couldn’t agree w/ your take any more. what a weird story, no? WELL DONE!

  13. Hideo Kuze says:

    I would totally fly over to the UK and claim I was addicted to everything just so I can get a vasectomy. It’ll cost me around $1,000 in the US to get one, but I’ll actually get paid if I do it this way lol.

  14. People keep saying that this isn’t going to “fix the problem of addiction, it’s not helping the addict properly, or giving them the help they need etc, etc”. I don’t think the goal of this program is to help the addict… it’s to help the rest of society by decreasing overpopulation, unwanted pregnancies, drug-addicted babies, parentless children, and so on.

  15. Leigh Swinscoe says:

    I’d like to know who’s financing Barbara.

    They obviously have something to gain by manipulating the population.

    • I’d like to know whos finacing you? You get a government check for warehouse the children of addicts? Do you have a finacial incentive for propogating the propogation of addicts?

  16. india did something similiar.. started with the best intentions, and then spiralled into a method of control for classes and political alliances due to the emerging democracy

    May God have mercy on each of your soulless bodies.

  17. KingKennyCool says:

    Seems sexist actually. Drug addicted babies come from drug addicted mothers.

  18. Ill add my 2c. This might be something that falls under the headline of eugenics, but no more so then say they hypothetical where parents can control the genetic content of their children. Distributed programs like this one are generally considered ok because the decisions are ostensibly being made by the participants involved — namely the parents.

    That being said, it sees likely that there is a fair degree of coercion involved here — while to many good folk $315 seems an inconsequential payment, especially in reference to a child, it is offering that fee when a person is at the depths of their personal despair, at their most vulnerable and (probably) in most need of money. To me, this seems similar to paying a large fee to persons who agree to be drug trial patients. To make an irrevocable choice like this is to assume that people cannot get to the point where they are in control of their addiction.

    • So far the only legal medical sterilazation option for men are vacetomies, which are REVERSIBLE.

      Imagine a world free of drug addicted babies, a world free of non drug adicted babies being taken away from drug addicted parents – a world where all that tax moeny could be used to fund treatment programs.

      Just to be clear it wrong, WRONG, to give an addict moeny to get a vasectomy, but if perfectly fine to gve that same addict a baby?

  19. One more good idea why don’t we just sterilize all the men and give the $315.00 directly to the drug dealers! Where do you think the money is going to go UMMM!

  20. Cooper Fleishman says:

    I’m going to side with Jennifer and Steven here. Vilifying the poor is not a humane solution. I’ll buy the “it’s their decision” argument when contraception and abortion are affordable and accessible alternatives in communities with high addiction rates. Then we’ll see who jumps for a voluntary sterilization.

    • They give out condoms for free in most places. And they obviously have enough money to by drugs at a wildly inflated price so they aint that poor.

    • No one is villifying the poor. We are saying people WHO USE DRUGS SHOULD NOT BE PARENTS, and bravo to this organization for giving them control over their own bodies.

  21. Hitler was a bad person. Hitler engaged in eugenics. This doesn’t mean that all selective reproduction programs are bad. This seems like a wonderful charity. Being raised by drug addicts is not a good thing. We do not need more human population. I don’t see any concrete reason why this would be bad. Most long-term birth control can be reversed if the drug addict recovers and becomes financial stable enough to afford a surgery (which is a fraction of the cost of raising a child properly). I agree that there may be better solutions. If there are, go out and implement them. Don’t criticise people doing good for not doing enough good .Not everything can be discredited by Godwin’s Law.

    • Hitler did not engage in eugentics – the Nazis had plans to try eugenic after the war was over. During the war they engaged in genocide.

      If murder is part of the equastion then it isnt eugenics.

  22. Why not sterilize the women too? Another misandrist endeavor.

  23. This is the worst program I ever heard of! I’m a person in recover myself and i can’t believe this is even legal. Praying on people who can’t make decision for themselves! I agree with Ryan on this HOW ABOUT DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM?

    • bradley13 says:

      Guess what steven: these people are all grown up. They could also choose to get help – there are plenty of programs available. You’re in recovery? Good for you. Tell me: when you were tripped out, just how good a parent would you have been?

      People are responsible for their own choices. If they choose to remain addicts, the last thing we need is for them to have kids that cannot and will not care for.

    • Preying on people who can’t make their own decisions??? Yet they SHOULD HAVE BABIES? You’re an idiot. YOU made the decision to use, and some people at least are making the decision to be sterilized. Good for them for doing one thing right in their life. There is no reason I or anyone else should pay for “treatment” for your decision to use drugs. Period. Grow up and own your own life, bud. The excuses are growing old.

  24. Benjamin Smith says:

    This is a prime example of a “self-selecting audience”. The people willing to undergo sterilization for $315 are exactly those people who should not be having babies. Another example of self-selecting audience: those who get themselves killed doing stupid things, who also remove themselves from the gene pool.

    This takes a big social problem and reduces it gradually, with minimal pain to those affected. Drug abuse hurts everybody involved – why not reduce the number of lives destroyed in its wake? And this program has almost no effect on other programs aiming to help the addicts themselves – $315 is a pittance compared to the cost of any kind of comprehensive rehab program.

    This is an awesome program!

  25. If the government was forcing drug addicts into sterilization that would (quite obviously) be a real problem. But this is a program which is completely optional.

    Are drug addicts vulnerable? Yes. Will some of them do anything for money? Sure. But when do we start holding people accountable for their own actions? Yes they are drug addicts but they are also grown men and women. As long as they enter into it willingly (and while sober) and are fully informed of the dangers, risks, benefits, effects of sterilization, then what’s the problem?

    Drug addict or not, shouldn’t people have a right to decide what to do with their own bodies? If someone wants to be sterilized (and get paid for it), that is their decision.

  26. This whole idea is ridiculous. And frankly, it takes advantage of the addict in their weak state and changes their ability to have children for the rest of their lives. I feel for children either born addicted or born into a world of addicted parents. But paying addicts to sterilize them is NOT the answer. People make mistakes and or have tragedy happen in their lives all the time; be it drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse, some kind of tragic accident, the list goes on forever. The only way out of any situation is through it – there is no easy answer and along the way innocent people are hurt in many ways. But it is just life and each and every one of us learns how to deal with the tragedy along the way. Addicts are not a lost cause and this solution has “Lost Cause” written all over it!

    • Judith Barrett says:

      Ex- heroin addict here, they are NOT going to get better until they CHOOSE to. I think it’s a phenomenal idea. Have you ever seen a crack addicted or heroin addicted baby? How about fetal alcohol syndrome? It’s mortifying. Addicts should put a cork in it til they’re ready to be a responsible parent, less collateral damage that way.

      • Judithi’m a little disappointed in your response coming from where you do. When is society going to treat addiction like every other illness? Lets start throwing some real $$$$ to help curing addiction instead of pushing people like us to the side? The best men that I know today have recover from some addiction i think that we should be doing everything in our power to help the real problem and not be making life changing decision for men who can’T make them for themselves!

        • Steven, I expect the response you gave here from someone at your stage. When your head clears, you will have a whole new outlook on life and new opinions.

        • Addiction isn’t “like any other illness.” Per addiction treatment specialist Stanton Peele, it’s not a disease, but a choice: for short-term gain over valuing long-term goals.

      • Judith is speaking from reality. Everybody else has way too much boo-hoo sympathy for addicts and apparently knows nothing of the foster care system or dead children left in the bathtub while Mommy was out scoring smack.

        Read LA Weekly’s D. Heimpel on what kids of drug addicts go through in foster care. You might find yourself on Skid Row afterward, chasing addicts down the street and offering them wads of cash to get snipped or get Norplant.

    • Yes, you are soooo right!

      “People make mistakes and or have tragedy happen in their lives all the time; be it drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse, some kind of tragic accident, the list goes on forever.”

      So why NOT continue to let tiny babies pay the price for their mom’s irresponsibility? I tell you what-come on down to Austin, and let’s go visit the NICU where drug-addicted babies are being treated. You can hear their CONSTANT shrieks of agony, see the ventilators helping them breathe, see how tiny they are. And then you can fill me on how wrong it is that addicts be given the CHOICE to NOT conceive these babies in the first place.

  27. Helpful definition of what eugenics actually is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

    “Eugenics is the “applied science or the biosocial movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population,” usually referring to human populations”

    • Ryan O'Hanlon says:

      How is this not advocating “the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population”?

      They’re paying drug addicts to not have children—not what I’d call a “great program.” Why not help these people with their addictions or pay for them to be entered into a treatment program? Instead, it’s like they’ve given up on these men and just said, “Here’s some money, go get an operation, and stay out of our hair.”

      It’s absurd.

      • White, Black, Hispanic, Moonman, anyone can be an addict. Some may have some genetic predisposition towards addiction, but it’s still a person’s choice to smoke that first fag, and to not get help. It’s not the same as your skin color, Ryan. You don’t choose to be born Hispanic and with all the stereotypes that come with that, and then find no recourse to change that.

      • Why not help these people with their addictions or pay for them to be entered into a treatment program?

        There are many programs to do this. Meanwhile, it’s best if those who are addicts do not knock people up or get knocked up.

      • Becuase this program isnt selecting them for genetic problems like cystic fibrosis or huntingtons or alzheimers, nor is the programs stated goal the betterment of human health thru selective breeding.

        Its stated goal is the prevention of drug addicted babies.

        Nothing to do with eugenics at all

  28. Eugenics is about trying to eliminate a race. This is about trying to eliminate babies born daddyless to drug addicted to single mothers who cannot care for them.

    Moreover, they are not being forced to be sterilized — they do it by choice. This is a great program. I wrote about why here: http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2009/12/19/a_kid_without_a.html

    • You;’re a raging idiot and everything that’s wrong with this world. Why don’t you just die already and go to your ‘heaven’ where your ‘god’ will tell you whatever it is that you thought up in your own head for an afterlife!

      • Okay Sheena, thanks for adding to the discussion.

        • I haven’t read Amy’s article on why it’s a good program, but I agree that this plan is perfectly logical. Works toward solving overpopulation, drug-addicted babies, unwanted pregnancies, babies without homes, and on and on. But even if Amy’s ideas are totally off, and illogical, and you disagree with them (Sheena)… you could at least go into a little more detail. You actually didn’t make any arguments against her, just made a bunch of random name-calling. I’m inclined to ask how old you are… but I’m afraid for humanity that you might be of an adult age.


  1. […] injured ribs as well as waging a fight against addiction that he will perpetually have to face. The Texas Rangers clinched their division to make their first playoff appearance since 1999. Josh Ha… a plan to survive the resulting champagne party as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict – using […]

  2. […] becoming the place for discussing manhood in America. You might not agree with everything we publish (neither do I) but it would be tough to argue that creating a place for earnest, thoughtful dialog […]

  3. […] announcement, folks. While my run here at the Good Men Project has been awesome, eventful, and educational, I am moving on to bigger things.** Now that Tina Brown has backed out of talks to […]

  4. […] Tuesday’s post on Project Prevention’s offer to pay drug addicts to get sterilized generated a little bit of controversy. It was one of our most viewed—and divisive—posts ever, leading to 53 direct comments and nearly 400 more on Reddit. We can’t fault any of the commenters for a lack of passion. […]

Speak Your Mind