Editor’s note: This is the second half of a report that continues an ongoing series on the damage caused by meth addiction.
Kayce Bullock is the CASA Coordinator for North Star CASA. She works at Virginia’s House in Graham, and though she has no specific data, she estimates that roughly 80 percent of the cases her organization works with involving children removed from their homes are removed because of the meth addiction of a parent or guardian.
“Certainly meth has devastating effects on the community and on the family, but I think ultimately it is children who suffer the most,” Bullock said. “The risks to the safety and well-being of children who are under the care of meth-abusing parents are numerous. We are seeing babies born with meth in their systems and children testing positive for meth.”
Bullock said that she does not see high success rates involving children being returned to meth-addicted parents or guardians. She explained that in addition to the immediate risks and effects of meth exposure in children, there are many long-term emotional and behavioral problems that can occur because meth changes the wiring of the brain.
According to Bullock, children often come to the attention of Child Protective Services (CPS) because they are found alone and wandering the streets. After getting high, meth users can sleep for several days, leaving any children in the house unsupervised. These children are forced to fend for themselves, and in some cases are trying to fill the caregiver role and find food and other necessities for younger siblings.
“The most heartbreaking meth cases are those that result in a child death,” Bullock said. “This is a very real, very dangerous problem, and it’s happening right here in this community. Day in and day out, CASA volunteers are seeing and dealing with the effects of meth on children and families.”
Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.