Meth and Children - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast Missouri

Meth and Children

Meth and Children
By: CJ Cassidy

Laws pertaining to meth crooks get tougher every year.

But Heartland police say lawmakers need to make sure the children of drug dealers and users don't get left behind in the process.

Investigators say it's frustrating to raid homes and find children among the drugs, but it's even tougher to see those kids come back to those homes, before the parents have really learned a lesson.

"You've got to keep in mind how addictive methamphetamine is. For a lot of people it becomes the most important thing, and kids take a back seat to the drug," Sgt. Kevin Glaser with the SEMO Drug Task Force says.

Just last week agents with the task force raided a mobile home in Stoddard County and arrested three men after finding methamphetamine inside.

"There were a number of adults living there, three couples and a total of seven kids," Glaser says.

He adds he sees more children caught in the middle of the meth war as more people experiment with the addictive drug.

"It's very conceivable for a young child to wander in and see something in a little package and ingest it and have all kinds of serious problems," he says.

"Maybe the laws can be changed to prevent other children from being hurt," Zenita Smith says.

She knows firsthand the kinds of problems common to babies born to meth addicts; she adopted two little boys who constantly struggle just to make it through the day.

"The youngest had a fractured skull when I first got him, and he was bruised inside," she says.

Smith and Glaser agree arrests alone may not be enough of a wake up call to drug offender parents.

"If you know a child's gonna go into the same situation they were taken out of, and not much has changed very hard to give them back," Smith says.

"We need better rehab programs," Glaser adds.

Heartland juvenile officers say offenders are expected to go through a drug treatment program, but when they have to serve jail time, that often interferes with the rehab program.

Ultimately though, it's up to a judge to decide if parents get their children back, and that's usually on a case by case basis.

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