While children are found to be using drugs like meth at ever-younger ages, direct use of methamphetamine is not the only way in which children are ingesting drugs. Because of the widespread use of meth in this day and age, all members of the public are wise to understand ways in which children end up ingesting meth.
There are four ways in which children ingest meth:
- Parents who use meth
- Exposure to meth lab
- Exposure to meth-dealing operation
- Unknowing contamination of a residence with meth
- Stay in meth contaminated hotel or motel
- Intentional meth use
Parents Who Use Meth
A primary way in which children end up ingesting meth is by being in the same household as parents, siblings, or someone else who uses meth. This particularly is the case if the meth user, abuser, or addict smokes the drug. (A considerable percentage of meth users do smoke the drug.)
Children can end up taking in “second hand” meth by inhaling smoke as their parents use the drug. In addition, when a person smokes meth, airborne meth residue can ultimately contaminate surfaces and objects. This can even include children’s toys. As will be discussed a bit further in a moment, meth can end up in an HVAC system, which can result in the drug being spread throughout a structure.
Exposure to Meth Lab
A commonplace tableau frequently associated with meth labs initially caused investigators confusion. Time and again when meth labs were discovered by law enforcement, children’s toys were found at the site. For a beat, investigators were puzzled by the fairly regular presence of children’s toys at meth lab sites.
Ultimately, the reason why children’s toys were rather commonly found at meth sites became clear. Parents (and even grandparents) were making or cooking while their children were nearby. This reality results in children, including very young ones, being directly exposed to all of the hazardous substances found at a meth lab. Children ingest meth, at times at high levels, when they spend any time with their parents in a meth lab.
In addition to meth itself, children who spent time at a meth lab with parents are also exposed to other toxic chemicals. Indeed, they are exposed to combustible chemicals (chemicals that result in explosions at meth labs with shocking regularity).
Exposure to Meth Dealing Operation
Another way children can be found to ingest meth is if they are living with a parent, sibling, or other person who is a meth dealer. If a person deals meth from a particular location for any amount of time, meth residue will contaminate surfaces. In addition, methamphetamine residue can end up airborne, including getting into an HVAC system. This can result in the drug being spread throughout a structure.
Unknowing Contamination of a Residence With Meth
A significant issue at this juncture in time is children coming into contact with a meth contaminated residential property. This occurs through no fault of their parents.
A common example of this type of situation is when a family moves into a new rental home. Prior to their occupancy, a previous tenant occupied the premises and smoked meth. Over a period of time, the property can become significantly contaminated with meth residue.
Even the most diligent standard post-lease cleaning of a rental property will not eliminate meth residue. Unless specific testing occurs, there is little chance new tenants will have any idea that a prior occupant smoked or otherwise used meth in the property.
Children in such a situation will face the prospect of long-term exposure to meth. As a consequence, children can face serious health consequences.
Stay in Meth Contaminated Hotel or Motel
Meth is frequently used in hotels and motels. The reality is that if a hotel or motel room were swabbed for the presence of meth residue, there is a decent likelihood that at least some evidence of meth residue would be found. In some cases, a hotel or motel room can have significant meth contamination.
Because hotel and motel rooms by their very nature are turned over rapidly, meth residue can build up to what can be potentially harmful levels over time. There have been a number of cases in which children have become ill as a result of this type of exposure to meth. Indeed, there have been some cases in which children have had long-term health issues as a result of exposure to meth residue in a hotel or motel.
Intentional Meth Use
People under the age of 18 continue to use meth. Indeed, there have been documented cases of children of elementary age using this harmful drug.
The rate of meth use among children in middle and high school reveals:
- 1 percent of 8th graders use meth
- 1.5 percent of 10th graders use meth
- 2 percent of 12th graders use meth
These statistics can vary rather significantly from one year to another. This can result in what can be rather drastic variations in the rate of meth use among children from year to year.