Meth labs and children

Friday, April 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It's a case of supply and demand. According to the nation's Drug Enforcement Administration, meth labs are on the rise in Oklahoma. KOTV's Tami Marler says making meth is not a "victimless" crime.

Children may be bearing the brunt of this growing problem. There are about as many different "recipes" for making meth, as there are lab busts in Oklahoma. Police have busted labs in houses, apartments, trailers, motels, and other properties. All places were families live. "In a two-day period we had eleven families with children at our shelter here in town for meth lab pickups." But it's not just the adults who are dealing with the effects of meth. It's also the children, who are forced to deal with serious health effects, for the rest of their lives. Claudette Selph with Parent and Child Center "You have some of the most hazardous chemicals known to mankind in a home with untrained workers, unskilled workers, and they're not licensed, and then you add to that children, and can you imagine the impact on what that's doing to these families." Those hazardous materials can cause breathing problems, skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, lung damage, burns, and worse. "Children that are highly exposed at very young ages are having organ damage; we're getting brain damage, we're seeing many of these children being very hypervigilant. The organ damage that we're seeing on these children is permanent and lifelong. It's not reversible, because these chemicals are so toxic and so hazardous."

According to Child Protective Services, the Department of Human Services have not kept count of the number of children placed in state custody from meth lab busts. Because of the dramatic increase - the department is beginning to keep track.