The Vaughan Rule

young woman in a meadow celebrating recovery

The Vaughan Rule

The Vaughan Rule

Kassidy Vaughan

Kassidy Vaughan is an addict and thanks to being a TAM Scholarship winner, she is currently in treatment at New Beginnings. But that’s only part of her journey to get help. The rest of the road to get to where she is today is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle made possible by her mother, Christy Lynn Vaughan’s love and tenacity. A miracle so strong that if Kassidy completes her treatment and stays clean, could change the laws and open the doors in Texas to allow those with the disease of addiction to go to rehab rather than jail. If enacted, this law will be called the “Vaughan Rule” after Kassidy.

The Vaughan’s are from a small town called Corsicana, Texas. Corsicana is a part of Texas that believes they have no drug problems; drugs are only found in the big cities and mysteriously stop at the boundaries of, in this case, Corsicana. Drug courts, etc. are unheard of – you have a drug issue, you do hard jail time, period. Since Kassidy’s step-mother had cut her off from insurance, rehab wasn’t even a viable choice.

You see, Christy Lynn Vaughan worked five years for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in the second worst unit in Texas for men. She’d seen the signs of drug abuse, she knew all about it, but yet she didn’t see it in her daughter who was a functional addict – good in school and played sports and just seemed a little sleepy now and then. Like many of us when our child first displays signs of addiction, we want to hang their behavior on any star other than addiction. We want to believe that having taught our children the very real dangers of drugs would have stuck somewhere in their brain. Simply put, you just don’t want to believe it can happen to your child, but it happened in Corsicana, Texas to Kassidy Vaughan.

In early December, Kassidy’s boyfriend stopped by to give her a pack of cigarettes and then left immediately. Police patrolling the area thought this was suspicious activity and pulled her boyfriend over. Although he was taken to jail, he told the police that the drugs were Kassidy’s. The police went to Kassidy’s house and found drug paraphernalia, and she admitted to using in the past. They charged her with possession under 1 gram and child endangerment. CPS immediately followed the police and did drug tests on Kassidy, which were positive. She was told that she would be sent to Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (6-9 months incarceration, 3 month halfway house, followed by 1 year after care) and that her child must be removed from the house.

On Christmas Eve 2014, knowing that Kassidy was severely depressed and using heroin, Christy rushed her to the closest thing possible to a rehab she could find. They were told that out-patient rehab could best suit Kassidy’s disease of addiction. Her mother was astounded that this was their response to the illness of a young girl on heroin.

Kassidy’s only option was Substance Abuse Felony Punishment, a program her mother knew from being a prison nurse, was an awful place and had a very low success rate. Determined and driven, Christy researched the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website and found documentation that the SAFP was only 56% effective. She immediately wrote the Judge and Probation Officer in Kassidy’s case, giving them the statistics that she had found and begged them to send her to rehab (because at the time, Kassidy had already won the TAM Scholarship).

The Judge ruled that Kassidy would be allowed to go out of state to attend New Beginnings. He went on to tell her that if she completed the program successfully, the “Vaughan Rule” would be enacted.

Currently Kassidy has completed 30 days of New Beginnings and has been given an extension of 60 more days. Her current plan is to go into sober living once she has completed the rehab.
Christy Vaughan is now on a mission to bring drug awareness to Texas – watch out Texas!