Archive for the ‘Children’ Category
The dangers for children living in a home where methamphetamine is manufactured are many, and they’re not all related to the finished product. Sure, small children could easily ingest the stuff, and you’ve all heard about the danger of fire and explosion. But have you considered…
1. Methamphetamine is made from a concoction of chemicals and other material that makes you scratch your head wondering why a person would want to put this stuff into their bodies. For example—muriatic acid (the stuff used to clean pool walls and freshly laid brick walls), ammonia, methanol, ether, benzene, methylene chloride, trichloroethane, toluene, anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorous, and iodine.
So, not only are the kids who live in these environments exposed to the immediate effects of harsh and toxic chemicals, they also must endure long-lasting and lingering effects because things like carpeting and draperies absorb vaporized chemicals. And let’s not forget other items that may absorb the fumes. You know, like baby bottles and nipples, and clothing. The list is long.
2. People who make meth are often users as well. Therefore, children in the home almost certainly ingest second-hand smoke. Not to mention the accidental needle-sticks from contacting improperly stored syringes (lying about in ash trays, on table tops, etc.).
3. Children living in “meth homes” are normally at a severe risk of abuse and neglect due to parents who use the drug, a drug that often makes its users extremely violent—irritable and careless at the lower end of the spectrum. Parents (users) often fall asleep for many hours or days after binging on meth, leaving small children to care for themselves. In fact, it’s often that a small child ends up caring for the addict/parent.
4. At some in-home meth labs, the “cook” often dumps the toxic byproducts into the plumbing drains, contaminating the entire waste system, including sinks and toilets. Therefore, children are in constant contact with not only the active chemicals, they are also exposed to the byproducts, which are just as deadly.
5. Meth chemicals are often stored in 2 liter soft drink bottles, which small kids easily mistake for the product they associate with those type bottles—colas, etc.
6. Meth homes/labs are notoriously filthy—hundreds, if not thousands, of roaches, flies, and fleas, dirty clothes everywhere, dirty dishes, used condoms, used needles, cigarette butts, half-eaten plates of food, spills, grime, razor blades lying about, pet urine and feces throughout, well, you get the picture. Unsanitary and unsafe to say the least.
7. Small children have often been found with meth powder on their clothing and bare feet.
8. The risk of fire and explosion is great. In fact, a substantial number (15% or so) of meth labs are discovered due to fire and/or explosion. The stuff used to make methamphetamine is highly volatile and can be set off simply by accidentally mixing incompatible chemicals. Of course, manufacturing explosive/flammable material in a mobile home where the chemicals are stored next to stoves, ovens, and heat sources is never a good idea.
Meth and pipe (DEA photo – thanks again to my friends at the Drug Enforcement Agency for the use of their photos in my book)
Other than the obvious physical health issues, children in meth homes are also prone to:
a) attachment disorders when parents fail to care for their most basic needs.
b) extremely low self-esteem
c) feelings of shame
d) substandard social skills
The consequences of living in a meth home are not limited to short term effects. Some deep-rooted and lasting effects after exposure to their parents behavior places the child at a greater risk of they too becoming involved in criminal activity, drug use and addiction, and violence.
It is important to note that normal cleaning (scrubbing, dusting, and mopping WILL NOT remove all of the chemical residue from surfaces in meth labs/homes. Residues have been found even on eating utensils and dishes after what was thought to be a thorough cleaning.
Exposure to methamphetamine can result in:
- brain damage
- kidney failure
- liver and spleen damage
- birth defects
Street Names for Meth – Speed, Meth, Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Tweak, Uppers, Black Beauties, Glass, Bikers Coffee, Quick, Poor Man’s Cocaine, Hillbilly Crack, Crystal Meth, Stove Top, Trash, Go-Fast.
Methamphetamine, although highly addictive and dangerous, is a schedule II drug, meaning there is a medicinal use for the drug. Interestingly, is it classed lower than marijuana.
Kids. So innocent. So loving. And so…well, I believe the Oak Ridge Boys say it best with these few simple words:
When you look down in those trusting eyes
That look to you, you realize
There’s a love that you can’t buy
Thank God for kids…
The ugly truth of the matter is that every day children all over the world are abducted, abused, battered, beaten, raped, and killed. Unfortunately, the dishonor and shame associated with abuse at the hand of a loved one is often so great that victims have a tendency to not report the crimes. As a result, many, if not most, crimes against children remain hidden from public view, and from the eyes of law enforcement officials (only 12% of child abuse cases are reported).
Here’s an indication of just how bad the problem really is. Hold on, because it isn’t pretty.
- Children (under the age of 18) account for 67% of all sexual assault victimizations reported to law enforcement. Remember, many, if not most, cases aren’t reported. 34% of those cases involve children under the age of 12. Children under 6 years account for 14% of all reported cases.
- A little over half of ALL children (530 per 1,000) have experienced a physical assault. Of those children, the highest number of assaults occurred on children between 6 and 12 years of age. 323 per 1,000 are sexually assaulted, and 22 per 1,000 are victims of complete rape.
- 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 16.
- The most common age when sexual abuse occurs is between 8 and 12.
- More than 90% of all sexual abuse victims know their attacker. Nearly 50% of the perpetrators live within the same household.
- The U.S. has the highest number of rapes in the world (among the countries that report statistics).
- 74% of all abducted children are murdered within three hours of the kidnapping.
- The average child molester will molest 50 girls before being caught.
- Molesters who target boys will molest 150 victims before being caught. Additionally, he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes during his lifetime.
- Most sexual abuse occurs between the age of 7 and 13.
- Most offenders who assault children are white.
- 2/3 of all offenders who assault children were or had been married, and were more likely to have been victims of child abuse.
So there you have it, the ugly truth that no one wants to talk about.
Why don’t you take a moment to do something nice for your kids today, starting with a hug.
Sources – FBI, Crimes Against Children Research Center, and The National Sheriff’s Association (Master Deputy Mike Robertson: Crimes Against Children).
* As always, I thank the Oak Ridge Boys for all they do.