Children are the biggest victims of illegal meth labs

Tuesday, September 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- More than 1,250 clandestine methamphetamine labs were found in Oklahoma last year, many times in places where children eat, sleep and play.

Children in Oklahoma have accidentally ingested the drug or chemicals used to make it, and some have been present when volatile makeshift labs exploded into flames.

But what really worries doctors and authorities is the unknown _ the long-term effects on children exposed to chemical contamination where they live.

Doctor Penny Grant works at the Children's Justice Center in Tulsa. She says some exposed children show developmental delays, but it's hard to know if that is from meth or other factors such as neglect.

The children are often found in filthy homes, dirty and not properly clothed. Children as young as 5 years old commonly act as caretakers to younger siblings.

Officials say as many as 90% of meth labs may go undiscovered.