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Children Exposed To Drugs Need Special Exam, Officials Say

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Children removed from drug homes in Oklahoma must be given a specific exam to see if they're positive for drugs, malnourished, or injured.

It's called a drug-endangered child exam and involves a full body medical exam and a urine test.

Hundreds of children are tested a year in Green Country to see if they've been exposed to drugs, ingested drugs, or are born addicted to drugs.

Law enforcement says they see children in drug homes more often than not.

They say children are exposed to dangerous chemicals and can lead to breathing problems, end up with drugs in their systems, and much more.

"A lot of them in the manufacturing environment are exposed to domestic abuse, they're neglected because the parents are doing drugs, not paying attention to the child, they're exposed to multiple people coming in and out of the house, there's a higher rate of child porn, a higher rate of sex abuse, physical abuse so it's not just the drugs themselves but everything else that goes with it," said OU Child Abuse Pediatrician Dr. Sarah Passmore. 

Officers frequently see drugs and drug paraphernalia right around children's chairs, beds, and food. In addition to physical injuries, doctors say there are long-term effects of drug exposure as well.

"They do have issues of socialization, attention, learning, and other problems related to life as they grow up," said Dr. Passmore. 

The drug-endangered child protocol was first created in Oklahoma when meth labs were in the hundreds, but since then, kids exposed to any type of illicit substance are now sent for the testing. 

Experts say it's better to get them tested within the first 72 hours then follow up to make sure they get the resources they need.

They say if you ever see a child in a drug atmosphere, you need to report them immediately so they can get help. 

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