The Horizons Story

The Horizons Program at the UNC School of Medicine is a substance abuse treatment program for pregnant and/or parenting women and their children, including those whose lives have been touched by abuse and violence.


Dr. John M. Thorp, Jr., a longtime faculty member in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, started Horizons in 1993 in response to the epidemic of drug and alcohol use in the late 1980s. With so many families affected by addiction, there was a great need in North Carolina for a treatment and recovery program for pregnant and mothering women – one that helped to resolve the issues of drug use that are specific to women and their families, and one that kept those families together.

What began with a handful of patients in one doctor’s clinic is now a robust program with the full support of one of the top research universities in the country and its innovative health care system. Now, 200 women are touched each year – many thousands in total – by Horizons’ prenatal care and addiction treatment, trauma-informed recovery practices, inpatient and outpatient treatment, career counseling, housing assistance, case management, family therapy and a 5-stay daycare for our clients’ children. The research conducted at Horizons by Dr. Hendrée Jones, Ph.D. is used around the world as a model for treating women and children with substance use disorders. Horizons' annual conference trains new learners in trauma-informed care each year, and many UNC students in psychiatry, social work and medicine now rotate through Horizons as part of their education.

Our Mission

Increase the number of pregnant women and mothers with substance use issues who successfully engage in the recovery process
Increase the number of healthy birth outcomes
Assure early intervention and counseling services for children as needed
Improve community response and service collaboration for pregnant women and mothers with substance use issues

Our Staff

As a comprehensive service provider, Horizons staff represent many disciplines: Certified Nurse Midwife | Psychiatrists | Nurses | Family therapists | Child therapists | Social workers | Substance abuse counselors | Case managers | Childcare teachers | Job readiness instructors | Resident Advisors | Drivers | Administrative personnel

thorp_mug.jpgDr. John M. Thorp, Jr.
Founder and Medical Director of UNC Horizons

Dr. John Thorp is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, with a sub-specialty certificate in maternal-fetal medicine. He is the Hugh McAllister Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vice Chair for Research and Division Director of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is the UNC principal investigator in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network at NIH, and participated in the groundbreaking discoveries that progestins could prevent preterm birth and magnesium is neuro protective in infants delivered early.

“I believe that addiction is a family disease. Whether it’s genetics or environment – it’s probably a complex mixture of both – we can break that intergenerational cycle of addiction and violence. Maybe those kids will never have to experience it”


Dr. Hendrée Jones
Executive Director of UNC Horizons

Dr. Hendrée Jones became the Executive Director of UNC Horizons in 2013, and is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychology. She is an internationally recognized expert in the development and examination of both behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for pregnant women and their children in risky life situations. Dr. Jones has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, multiple books and book chapters and is a consultant for the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Dr. Jones’ research on improving the lives of children, women and families takes her to Afghanistan, the Southern Cone, the Republic of Georgia, South Africa, as well as all over the United States.  

“Women who are using drugs and find out they are pregnant – many of them want to stop, but find the addiction is overpowering and don’t have the ability to stop on their own. And, so, they need to seek help, and that’s where Horizons comes in. We provide the help they need to stop that cycle of addiction.”

The UNC Horizons Program receives federal and state substance abuse treatment funds through SAMHSA and the NC Division of Substance Abuse Services, and service reimbursements. Horizons also receives support from the Orange County Partnership for Young Children (Smart Start), the Alamance County Partnership for Children, Alamance County United Way, and the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation.