PostHeaderIcon Children Who Live In Meth Homes: The Dangers and Long-Term Effects

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

- DEATH

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.

5 Responses to “Children Who Live In Meth Homes: The Dangers and Long-Term Effects”

  • SZ says:

    What is medical use ?

    I foster kittens that get better parents then some children.

  • Lee Lofland says:

    There are a few accepted medical reasons for its use, such as the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and for short-term use obesity. Medicinal meth is called Desoxyn® (methamphetamine hydrochloride tablets, USP).

    Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate) are very close kissin’ cousins of methamphetamine.

    From the makers of Desoxyn®:

    DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE

    Controlled Substance: Desoxyn tablets are subject to control under DEA schedule II.

    Abuse: Methamphetamine has been extensively abused. Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability have occurred. There are reports of patients who have increased the dosage to many times that recommended. Abrupt cessation following prolonged high dosage administration results in extreme fatigue and mental depression; changes are also noted on the sleep EEG. Manifestations of chronic intoxication with methamphetamine include severe dermatoses, marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Abuse and/or misuse of methamphetamine have resulted in death. Fatal cardiorespiratory arrest has been reported in the context of abuse and/or misuse of methamphetamine.

    Manifestations of acute overdosage with methamphetamine include restlessness, tremor, hyperreflexia, rapid respiration, confusion, assaultiveness, hallucinations, panic states, hyperpyrexia, and rhabdomyolysis. Fatigue and depression usually follow the central stimulation. Cardiovascular effects include arrhythmias, hypertension or hypotension, and circulatory collapse. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Fatal poisoning usually terminates in convulsions and coma.

    DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

    Desoxyn tablets are given orally.

    Methamphetamine should be administered at the lowest effective dosage, and dosage should be individually adjusted. Late evening medication should be avoided because of the resulting insomnia.

    Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity: For treatment of children 6 years or older with a behavioral syndrome characterized by moderate to severe distractibility, short attention span, hyperactivity, emotional lability and impulsivity: an initial dose of 5 mg Desoxyn once or twice a day is recommended. Daily dosage may be raised in increments of 5 mg at weekly intervals until an optimum clinical response is achieved. The usual effective dose is 20 to 25 mg daily. The total daily dose may be given in two divided doses daily.

    Where possible, drug administration should be interrupted occasionally to determine if there is a recurrence of behavioral symptoms sufficient to require continued therapy.

    For Obesity: One 5 mg tablet should be taken one-half hour before each meal. Treatment should not exceed a few weeks in duration. Methamphetamine is not recommended for use as an anorectic agent in children under 12 years of age.

  • well, today I learned more than I ever wanted to know about drugs. Heartbreaking for sure.

  • I’m working on a novel that deals with this kind of environment, not only on a family, but on a community. Is there any research or knowledge on what the disposal method mentioned above has on the local water supply? Effect on creeks nearby? Where would you suggest for more information? Thanks for posting such interesting posts, Lee.

  • Laura Mitchell says:

    As compared to other drugs (cocaine,heroin), meth is probably THE worst when it comes to mental health. Meth heads are some of the most paranoid people on the planet.

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