Methamphetamine: You’re Never Too Young to be Affected

Who says the addict is the only one who feels the effects of methamphetamine abuse? The consequences of addiction affect more than just the addict: it can have serious consequences on the children of those who abuse it. In fact, the effect of methamphetamine abuse can be seen in the life of a child before he even starts his first day of school.

Effects of Meth Found As Early as Three

We all know that methamphetamine abuse can do extensive harm to the addict, but abuse during pregnancy can affect both the addict and the baby. New studies show that children exposed to the drug before birth can have behavior problems as young as age three.

Published in the April 2012 issue of Pediatrics, the study tracked the health of 166 meth-exposed children and compared them for the behavior of similar children who had not been exposed to the drugs.

The study found the exposed three-year olds were more likely to be emotionally reactive, anxious and depressed.  By age 5, they were more likely to show aggressive behavior, and ADHD symptoms.

The children who are anxious and depressed tend to be quiet and withdrawn, with a higher risk of having problems making friends and getting along in school.

But, although these problems are worthy of notice, they may be reversible. Authors of the study concluded that early detection of these behavioral syndromes could lead to better intervention programs, which in turn can prevent the disease process.

Effects of Meth are Fatal in Infant

The effects of meth are not limited just to pregnancy. The consequences of meth abuse during the months after birth can also be fatal.

In Eureka California, a five-week old infant died after ingesting a lethal dose of methamphetamine from his mother’s breast milk. The baby was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital in November of 2010, where an autopsy determined the baby died of methamphetamine toxicity.

The mother, Maggie Jean Wortman, age 27, was sentenced to 6 years in prison on March 22, 2012. She admitted to law enforcement officials that she continued breastfeeding even though she smoked meth a couple of time a week for three weeks before the infant’s death.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson even noted that the maximum 11-year sentence would be more appropriate because of the “vulnerability of such a young infant,” reported the United Press International. 

The Impact is Greater

As shown, the effects of methamphetamine abuse spawns out greater than just the addict. The addict is not the only one bearing the consequences of his or her addiction. Others are just as affected, but the impact is greatest on their own children.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become alcohol and drug abusers.
  • Eighty percent of welfare professionals report that substance abuse causes or contributes to at least half of all cases of child maltreatment.
  • Children exposed prenatally to illicit drugs are 2 to 3 times more likely to be abused and neglected.
  • Children of addicted parents are more likely to have depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders.
  • Children of addicted parents are at high risk for psychiatric and psychosocial dysfunction.
  • Children of alcoholic parents do less well on academic measures.

You’re not alone.

You’re not alone in bearing the burden of your addiction. Your children do not have to be a statistic. There is hope for a brighter future—for both you and your children. Pick a rehab today. 

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