Monday, July 2, 2007

A Meth Lab Is Not A Home!


And now for a few true stories that are not for people with weak stomachs or hearts. the stories I am about to share will truly make you angry.

A 7-year-old boy gets thirsty and opens the refrigerator in his own home, grabbing a mason jar of what he assumes is water. But its not water... it is lye, a chemical used in the making of meth. The little boy lives, but his esophagus is very badly burned.

Five children, between the ages of 1 and 7, are removed from their home during a drug raid. Their feet, legs, hands and arms are peppered with needle marks from accidental contact with open needles found around their home. During a medical examination, it turns out that all five kids have Hepatitis C... and the 1-year-old is so ill, his liver is enlarged to the size of an adult's.

An 11-month-old boy suffers burns on his face and throat, after climbing into a bucket of chemicals used to make meth.

An 8-year-old boy opens his garage door, causing an explosion from the meth lab inside. He suffers serious burns.

In another meth lab explosion, two girls ages 10 and 15 are killed, and a 6-year-old girl is badly burned.

These are only a few of the stories of children who have been injured, or become ill, due to living in homes where methamphetamine, or "meth", is produced. And those are only the stories that make the news. Countless other children remain living in such homes. These kids are at risk in so many ways.
Of course, the first danger is the fact that they are living in homes where dangerous chemicals are present. As we have seen from the stories above, children can easily accidentally ingest the chemicals, because they are curious or they believe the chemicals to be something else. Kids can be accidentally pricked by needles used by meth addicts. The chemicals are also highly explosive. And, even breathing the air where meth is made can be very harmful to children! Breathing these chemicals can burn a person's lungs, and cause damage to the brain, kidneys, or liver. It can even cause death. And because children are smaller, they are more suseptible to the negative effects of breathing the toxic air.
But if children are able to survive the physical dangers caused by the meth production itself, there are other dangers to face as well.
Children who live in places where meth is made are in the midst of a very hazardous lifestyle. People who make meth often keep loaded guns around the house. Others train attack dogs to guard the house. These dogs, who are basically abused in order to be conditioned to be mean, can be dangerous to children. Meth homes are often alarmingly dirty, and children may play around rats and other rodents, animal feces, open discarded needles, trash and rotten food, etc. Many times, because of chemicals being dumped into the bathtubs or toilets, the plumbing is unusable, so the children are unable to take baths.
Whatsmore, many children living in meth homes are subjected to abuse and neglect. Using meth often causes people to become careless, irritable and violent. They may pay no attention as other adults in the house are abusive to the children. Parents who use meth can even fall asleep for days on end, leaving children to fend for themselves among other adult meth users.
And, if the meth home is eventually raided, children in the house are not spared. Terrified little kids can easily find themselves lying on the floor, handcuffed, with guns pointed at them, along with all of the adults in the house.
How can you help kids like these? One important thing is to try to close down meth labs, and get the children to safety. Here are some signs that you may be living near a house that is being used as a meth lab:
Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals).
Residences with windows blacked out.
Renters who pay their landlords in cash. (Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash.)
Lots of traffic - people coming and going at unusual times. There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases dramatically.
People going outside the building only long enough to smoke, especially at motels or during bad weather.
New high fences with no visible livestock or animals.
Excessive trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape.
Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.

If you suspect a meth lab, do not try to investigate! Just call the police!

Also, if you know or work with children, be suspicious if you notice a child having the following symptoms, on a regular basis:
Watery eyes
Discharge from the eyes
Eye pain, including burning
Skin irritation and redness
Mild to severe burns
Sneezing and coughing
Congestion of the voice box
Chest pain
Nausea and vomiting
Abdominal pain
Diarrhea
Moderate to severe headache
Rapid heart rate
Dark colored urine
Fever
Decrease in mental status
Yellow jaundice
Hallucinations
Extreme irritability
Severe neglect
Difficult and labored breathing; shortness of breath
Clothes and hair smell like chemicals
Chemical burns
Malnourished
Obese
Poor hygiene and dental care
Respiratory ailments
Lots of knowledge regarding meth and the cooking process
Secretive and defensive about their home


If you know a child with these symptoms, or if the child tells you about meth being made in his home, call 9-1-1 immediately, so the child can recieve medical treatment!

Another way to help is to volunteer in a children's hospital, especially the burn unit. Not all of the children there will be victims of meth houses, but thats where the children often end up.

Meth is a horrid drug, and the consequences of using or making it are severe for everyone around. Hopefully someday we will be able to protect children from this drug!

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1 comment:

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